By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
** A word of warning: this vignette is graphic. If you can’t stand gruesome details, skip the fourth paragraph–although this will alter the impact of the story.**
Read the second Vignette next Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Vignettes—are they funny, bizarre, ironic, poignant or maybe horrific? Why do some stories stay so vivid in our memories? Here are two that won’t go away…(look for the second one next week)
Ting-a-ling, ting-a ling
I am working a night watch radio car (3A15) with my partner Frank Isbell. It is late, nearing end of watch on a particularly dark night.
We get the call every copper dreads— “unknown trouble.” This means the person taking the call for the PD was unable to determine what the problem was. It could be anything from a cat up a tree to a multiple homicide. It’s the type of call that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
The street is dark as is the house. The front door stands wide open. We talk for a moment on the sidewalk. It is decided I will check the back door before we go in. It is locked and shining my flashlight into the kitchen window shows me nothing. The front door opens into a large living room. As we enter I take the right half the room, Frank the left. My half shows a doorway to the back of the house and a shotgun on the floor, far right.
Frank sweeps his light left. Then I hear his voice, saying softly, “Whoa.” Against the far left wall is a large overstuffed chair. In the chair is a young woman, legs sprawled, arms flung out, head back with the left upper side of her face missing. Her ear, eye, part of her nose and scalp are sprayed onto the wall behind her, blood spattered to the ceiling. We quickly search the rest of the house, empty, when—she moans.
Yes—it startled me.
I went to the car to request an ambulance and was met by a man standing in the street. “The guy who did the shooting is hiding behind that car over there and he has a rifle or a shotgun.”
While I waited watching the car I sent the citizen in to get my partner. Now. Quick plan: I would go to the rear of the car. He would take the front, careful of potential “crossfire.”
We could see a shadowy figure in a half crouch. And when I hit him with the light he was facing me holding a rifle muzzle down, half bent over trying to close the bolt. (he had the wrong sized ammo and the rifle would not operate) I told him to drop the gun and he ignored me. To this day, I don’t know why didn’t not fire. Frank then appeared and told him in very colorful street terms what would happen if he didn’t drop the rifle.
He later told us he shot her because she had broken one of his favorite phonograph records, however he “loved” her so he shot her with the .20 gauge, rather than the heavier .12.
When she testified in court, she said she only remembered him pointing the gun at her. Then she heard bells, “Like you know, ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling.”
Ain’t love grand?