“They killed my baby!” cried the mother of a 32-year-old robbery suspect. “I want justice for my son. They didn’t have to kill him. He’s a good boy – a good father.”
These are words that are often heard immediately after an officer-involved shooting. Sure, the robber was his mother’s baby, and always would be, no matter what he’d done. However, the moment Junior made the decision to point a weapon, or threaten the life of an an officer, or another civilian, was the moment that justified an officer’s use of lethal force.
In many cases, there’s no one at the shooting scene other than police officers and the suspect. The suspect was also probably alone during the moments that led up to the shooting. Therefore, Mama was not around to see her precious baby boy when he smoked crack for several hours and then headed for the corner convenience store carrying a cheap Davis .32 pistol loaded with bullets he’d had for so long they’d begun to turn green. Once at the store he wandered around waiting for the last customer to leave and then pointed his pistol at a frightened clerk demanding that she hand over cash and cigarettes (they often include several packs of smokes in their take). Then he left the store to buy more crack with the stolen loot.
He’s drinking a beer, his eighth in the past two hours, as he drives to the various places in town known for crack dealing. They’re easy to spot – runners standing in the street in groups of four or five, pretending to carry on conversations all the while scanning each vehicle for potential customers, and for undercover police officers. A runner approaches the robber’s car and the robber asks if he’s holding. The runner spits a $20 rock from his mouth (a favorite hiding place because he could easily swallow it if approached by the police) and then sells it to the robber.
At this point the robber’s hours-long intense synergistic high combines with the adrenaline rush caused by committing the robbery. Suddenly, he’s ten-feet-tall and bullet proof. This is the worst possible time for him to make contact with police officers. He thinks he’s invincible.
However, this is just about the amount of time officers need to put together the information required – license numbers, residence, type of car, witness statements, known hangouts, etc – to track down the suspect. They begin their search based on the information they’ve gathered. It won’t be long now.
The suspect drives his car to the end of a rarely used alley where he uses a homemade crack pipe (a piece of broken portable radio antenna stuffed with a small portion of a copper scouring pad for a screen) to smoke the recently purchased rock. This takes only a few seconds to accomplish, with the peak of the high lasting not much longer. He pulls the shift into drive and heads out to buy another rock.
Patrol officers spot the car pulling out of the alley. They check the description against the information they’d received in the BOLO (Be On The Lookout). It matches that of the car used in the robbery. The officers activate their emergency equipment (cop speak for lights and siren). The suspect pulls over and reaches under the seat for his gun.
The officers use their PA system to order the suspect out of his car. They tell him to hold his hands high so they can see them at all times. Instead, the suspect leaps from the car and begins shooting toward the officers. The return fire, killing him.
Meanwhile, a neighbor who heard the action makes a few phone calls. Word eventually gets to the family who soon begin to show up at the scene. It’s not long before Mama arrives and sees the tarp-covered body surrounded by a sea of police cars, officers, and news reporters.
“They killed my baby!” she howls. That’s when the lights come on and the cameras begin to roll.
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The Graveyard Shift has been nominated for a Predators and Editors Reader’s Poll Award. If you’d like to cast a vote for us please take a moment to visit the P&E site here. We’re listed as Lee Lofland’s The Graveyard Shift. We appreciate the vote!
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Writers’ Police Academy
There are only a few more weeks left to advantage of the low early registration rate!
Award winning horror author Deborah Leblanc has signed on as a Medal of Valor sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy. Other Medal of Valor sponsors include Writers Digest and Just Write Sites. Thanks to each of you for your very generous donations.
A large portion of the Writers’ Police Academy proceeds will be going to the Guilford Technical Community College Criminal Justice Foundation. Without them this event would not be possible. The instructors for this event also devote a heck of a lot of their time to answering questions for writers.
Please contact us if you’d like to be a sponsor.
Levels of Sponsorship
Medal of Valor – $1,000 and above
Commissioner – $500 – $999
Sheriff’s Star – $400 -$499 or Chief’s Shield $400 – $499 (Donor’s option)
Chief of Detectives – $300 – $399
Major – $200 – $299
Captain – $100 – $199
Lieutenant – $75 – $99
Sergeant – $50 – $74
Corporal – $25 – $49
Officer – $10 – $24
Please visit us at www.writerspoliceacademy.com to reserve your spot at this unique event now.
* Space for the FATS training is limited to the first 100 people who sign up for it and we’re rapidly approaching that number!
Remember, hotel rooms are limited due to the number of large events in the Greensboro area. Please reserve your rooms now!