We didn’t hear you, my dispatcher says.
When I used my portable radio to call the Sheriff’s Office, to tell them Scotty had a knife, that he’d gotten violent, that I needed some help…they hadn’t heard me. Maybe the weather interfered. Or maybe I hadn’t charged the battery enough.
Either way, my dispatcher says no one heard my call for help.
I hadn’t known that. When I drew my weapon and went inside, I thought my partner was on the way; I thought someone had heard and was sending help.
But it didn’t matter, I realized. When I got inside and saw Scotty’s absolutely empty eyes, I knew help wouldn’t matter because it wasn’t going to arrive fast enough.
September 30, 2008
The weapon is a Glock 21. It’s a big son of a bitch. A .45 caliber with a fat, slow slug that can do all kinds of damage if needed.
I draw the weapon, take a deep breath, and go inside.
The girlfriend’s father is there, a bit of blood on his head. The mother is behind me. The girlfriend is protecting her young kids in a back bedroom.
Scotty is in the far corner of the kitchen. His father is in front of him, his mother to the side.
The fuck are they doing here, I wonder.
“Scotty,” I shout. “Let me see your hands.”
Scotty’s head turns my way and his eyes touch me but there is no recognition. His father is yapping and yapping and his mother is pleading and pleading and I see their jaws move but I don’t hear anything.
All I hear is my heart pounding hell out of my chest.
My grip tightens on my weapon and I try to catch sight of Scotty’s hands. Does he still have a knife? Does he still have deadly force?
“Scotty? You okay? I need to call an ambulance?”
Dead silence except his parents talking and talking and talking and if they’d just shut up, I might be able to get through to Scotty.
I’m about thirty feet from him and I can’t see shit. I have no idea where the knife is. So I move forward, weapon still at my side. I don’t want to raise it, to escalate this whole nightmare, just yet.
At twenty feet away, I stop. “Scotty, let me see your hands. Where’s the knife?”
Again, silence. He looks at his father, then his mother. Then again at me.
“Scotty, it’s me…Trey…what’s going on? You okay?”
My throat is like the fucking desert I grew up in: dry and hot, and my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. Still I can’t see his hands. I raise my weapon halfway, what’s called ‘the hunt’ position. Not all the way up and ready to shoot, but closer.
It’s a small escalation but I believe Scotty recognizes it.
I move forward slowly. While I’m watching Scotty, I try to scan everyone else. Are they wounded? Are there other weapons?
I’m ten or twelve feet from him now. He’s in the back corner of the kitchen. I’m at the doorway. Between us is an ocean of bad linoleum.
Again I ask to see his hands. Again he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t give a shit.
But he looks at me and I know, at that very instant, even before he rockets across that linoleum, everything has changed and the worst is yet to come.
Part 3 Tuesday