The first time we arrested Bob was back in the early 80s. He was a pretty good body (car repair) man and had a fair amount of business, but I guess selling crack was more lucrative. He served a few years on that case and when he got out he went right back to selling crack. He was involved in some type of incident, probably a dope deal, and accidentally shot himself in the lower leg with a 12 gauge shotgun and ended up losing his leg just below the knee. We arrested him some time later on another crack cocaine charge and sent him back to prison for a few more years. When he got out that time he said he would never go back to jail. But he went right back to selling crack, and the local task force sent in a confidential informant and bought from him again. We arrested him on this charge, but he was able to make bond and was out awaiting trial when he had another run of bad luck.
On a clear, cold morning when calls were running slow I was doing routine patrol and traffic enforcement when the radio crackled with the dispatcher putting out a “shots fired” call. She advised that the wife of the informant we had used in the last buy from Bob had called and said Bob had just tried to kill her and her husband (the informant).
Myself and two other units responded to a mobile home where they were living. When we arrived, the wife met us at the street. She told us Bob had showed up at the front door, pulled a pistol and started shooting at her husband. She said her husband ran through the house with Bob in hot pursuit, shooting at him and then, he started shooting at her too. He had chased them through the house, out the back door and completely around the trailer. From what we could see her story was right on, as there were bullet holes in the interior and exterior walls of the home. We found 9mm cases in the house, yard and street. Somehow he had missed them with all of his shots, probably because he couldn’t move real fast on one leg. After we got them calmed down, we got a description of the vehicle Bob was driving, put it out to dispatch and had the description broadcast to other agencies in our area in case he ran out of town.
I left the scene and started over toward Bob’s house. I really didn’t think he would just go home, but as I turned the corner onto the street where he lived, there was the car the victims had described parked in front of his body shop next to his house. I radioed for a backup unit to respond and was going to just do a drive-by until the backup unit arrived. But as I drove in front of his shop, there he was, sitting in a lawn chair in the door of the shop.
As I stopped he put a chrome-plated semi-automatic pistol to the left side of his head. I fell out with a M-4 carbine and took a cover position behind the motor block of my car.
It doesn’t make any difference how many times you point a weapon at another person, when you look through the sights you always get that kind of sick feeling in the pit of your stomach thinking, “I’m going to have to shoot this guy?”
I told him to put the gun down and he responded by telling me to leave. I told him he had not hit anybody and the situation was not as bad as he thought. He again told me to leave and said he wasn’t going back to prison. I started talking to him, trying to get him to put the gun down. My backup arrived and took a cover position at the back of my unit. I kept talking to him, telling him we could not leave and to calm down.
About this time I guess he decided that today was the day, and he pulled the trigger of the pistol and went limp just like he should from a brain stem shot. The pistol fell to his left and behind him. I radioed dispatch and told them to get an ambulance in route, we had shots fired and one down with a head wound.
My backup officer and I closed on the subject, but before we could get to him, he sat back up and said, “Why ain’t I dead?” We got to him, secured the gun and then started to try to render any aid we could. He had shot himself in the left side of his head with the same 9mm he’d tried to kill the informant with. However, the angle of the muzzle had been pointed up enough that he only cut a nasty furrow through his scalp, and the round had not penetrated the skull.
The ambulance arrived shortly, a pressure bandage was put on his head and he was transported to the emergency room. Bob was treated and released to our custody and transported to the jail.
I went and talked to him later and he told me that he had thought about pointing the gun at us but then said, “You would have shot me, wouldn’t you?” I told him that we probably would have and thanked him for not putting us in that position.
Bob stood trial on the delivery charge and shooting charge, and had to go back to prison again; life on the street, go figure.
— JW, OK