To the left, within feet of the old drug house (just out of the picture, bordering the grade school property and upon which I participated in a kind of SWAT raid a while back), you see a white Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department cruiser, then, moving to the right, a black Andrews City Police Department cruiser, then a pickup of the alleged friend of the alleged perp, then under the lit-up tree, our great, fearless LEOs who just took the alleged perp to the ground after an alleged scuffle of allegedly resisting arrest, then the alleged perp’s pickup truck, then the alleged perp’s house lights, just across the street, with the alleged perp’s house also bordering the grade school property. Yep. Not even an inch distant from school property. Kids are always in mortal danger in this neighborhood, not to mention all the law abiding citizens, of which the very best in WNC are also my neighbors.
After a long day of meetings, endless miles on the road, dramas with the church campuses, provision of the sacraments, going to Confession myself, going up to the Cemetery just before Veteran’s Day to take pictures of the destruction of numerous grave stones of a recent incident still under investigation, then the editing of the next article of my best friend, Father Gordon J. MacRae, to be published November 11, 2020 (after an unexpected nuclear explosion of drama from the sidelines), and after having fed Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog, I collapsed in bed with the window open (still warm evenings here in the back ridges of extreme WNC).
Fully asleep by, say 8:45 PM, Shadow-dog woke me up with a tell-tail, so to speak, very deep throated “woof-WOOF!” I listened to what was an alleged mag-dump of, just guessing, an alleged .22, say 6 or 7 bullets, flying everywhere (within city limits, btw), and I listened also to a male voice and also a female voice allegedly making comments at each other, then barking of other dogs, and then Shadow-dog making insistent comments, all in the space of seconds as I got out of bed. Then I got a text from a neighbor – at 9:18 PM, then a phone call from the same:
“Shots fired! Guns drawn! Get over here, now!”
As I raced over, three kids on bikes were passing my house to investigate what all the excitement was about. Just. Wow. So I took on a Shadow-dog voice and barked commands at them:
“Get back! Now! Shots fired! Guns drawn! Get back! Now! Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go!”
Lo and behold, they instantly turned tail and raced away. Thank God. You have to use extremely short, extremely clear commands when peoples’ adrenaline is flowing.
What I allegedly saw then was my alleged neighbor out front of his house with an alleged shotgun fully lifted up and pointed directly at two of our great Law Enforcement Officers, who, in turn, both had their service pistols aimed directly at him as a response. Commands to drop the gun were given and then the alleged statement from one of our LEOs was made (a voice I know well): “You’re about a half a second away from getting shot.”
The alleged perp put down the gun, but then allegedly, incredibly, resisted arrest. Unbelievable. The alleged perp was forthwith assisted to the ground for his own safety and that of the officers and others in the neighborhood. The alleged perp was cuffed and stuffed into the town cruiser. After our town officer took statements from my neighbors, the alleged perp was then brought down to jail, driven right past us.
As of this writing, a great family who had moved into the drug house after we had done a kind of SWAT raid on that house, has just now moved out. Another neighbor is also moving out in the next days. And another neighbor plans to move as soon as possible. There is still an extremely active known drug house in back of our back yards. Lots of violence. Blood everywhere.
But the great bishop of Charlotte Diocese (this parish is on the far western side of the Diocese) has repeatedly said to me over the years after I (NOT complaining but just describing dramas like this to him (dramas which happen all the time)… the Bishop said repeatedly to my great joy: “Catholics don’t run!” I agree: Catholics don’t run. And pastors don’t abandon Jesus’ little flock.
Meanwhile, I’m guessing the alleged perp will be out on bail and possibly taking revenge on my neighbors for calling 911 and on Shadow-dog for helping to sound the alarm. Goood daaawwg! The alleged perp has allegedly told me that he allegedly has three guns. The shotgun is now in the possession of law enforcement. But what about the other alleged guns in this alleged perpetrator’s house?
Kudos to our Law Enforcement Officers, both of the Sheriff’s Department and our own town Police Department. They showed incredible restraint in not ending the threat with the assistance of their own… um… tools, but just by verbal commands. I’m certain that this is the closest either of them have come to pulling the trigger on someone. After all, this guy is allegedly known to allegedly shoot his weapons in town and had just allegedly done up a mag dump moments before. You just can’t get closer than that to taking care of business.
Maybe they were counting on the alleged perp to be reasonable, though, in my opinion, even from a distance, the alleged perp seemed to be drunk as a skunk, which is allegedly a very frequent state of mind for him. Maybe they thought the alleged perp could figure out that even if he pulled the trigger on one officer, the other is likely going to do a brain-box shot on him. I guess being a team of two or more works well for tactical reasons in a shots fired domestic circumstance, right?
Maybe they also saw that they alleged perp was just trying to do a suicide by cop. All way too sad. I hate that for him. I hate that our officers had to be under the stress of this guy allegedly pointing a shotgun in their faces. I would hate it for the officers if they had to pull the trigger on this guy. No matter how justified the shooting, we’re not made by God to kill one another, and you carry this with you. I just had a LEO tell me that the other week, and he would know, as he had to do this in defense of his life: no matter how justified pulling the trigger would be, the guy who is defending the innocent is always by taking out the threat is always the victim, having to carry this his or her entire life. Suicide by cop is an act of aggression against law enforcement.
Just so you know where I stand, here’s a shot of the front of Sassy the Subaru: that would be a think blue line…
Jenny the Jeep has been sold and title transferred. A parishioner sold me his 2001 Toyota Tacoma SR5 six cylinder. Here’s a shot of the front of the Toyota:
That’s from the same roll of blue reflective tape for the Thin Blue Line. It just depends on how the light hits it.
Meanwhile, in taking these pictures this morning, after the shooting, I was the subject of a drive-by screaming, the guy being really upset that Jenny the Jeep was sold not to him but to a friend who got in just before him. Sigh. I’ll put that down to the tensions people are under because of Covid-19, because of draconian political power-plays regarding Covid-19, because of the weirdness of the election, the promises to pack the Supreme Court, the promises to confiscate guns, the promises to make everyone pay for abortion, the promises to have no borders whatsoever, the promises to absolutely destroy all law enforcement, all stuff which may have pushed our neighborhood shooter over the line.
Finally, yes, this priest was carrying his permitted carry, a Glock 19, chambered, just in case our LEOs needed some civilian assistance according to the normal rules of engagement for use of the Second Amendment. In the dark night, I didn’t want to rush into the scene prematurely, perhaps causing the alleged perp to pull the trigger on the officers and then me and my neighbors, to whatever extent he could have accomplished that. The purpose of being a law enforcement chaplain is not to add danger to any alleged perp or any law enforcement officer or anyone else. But I’m always at the ready to help where I can be of assistance with prudence, reason.
Finally, finally, I want to give a big thanks once again to our officers of both the Sheriff’s Department and our town Police Department. Our police officer took the lead in all this. He’s totally fearless and extremely well prepared with lots of experience. I think it was just his confidence and the personal power of his commands that had the alleged perp-coward put down his weapon. Very cool, that. A victory for everyone, for America, for the best that there is in humanity from God, prompt in readiness to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Thanks to our great LEOs.
To those who would criticize the officers for not blowing this guy’s head off his shoulders when they would be totally justified in doing so for their own safety and the safety of the neighbors and of the entire town… well, you weren’t there, with your finger on the trigger, seeing what they saw, seeing what they could otherwise do right then, right there, in a split second. Clam down. I agree that the media and others have scared some officers into not doing the necessary, fearing losing their jobs, their retirement, fearing murder charges for what is purely protection of themselves and other citizens from entirely deadly aggression being actively delivered. I agree, but in this instance, I was not behind the trigger as the responding officer, and did not see what the officers saw from close up, barrel to barrel. Neither were you. Clam down. It is what is is. I’m happy with the outcome. Very happy. I’d be happy to be friends with the alleged perp. But people make choices. I hope he makes better choices in the future.
For everyone in these crazy times: Hail Mary…