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Thinking Out Loud: Encountering the Unknown

Thinking Out Loud: Encountering the Unknown

I am sharing this story not for accolades or praise but as an example of how quickly incidents can unfold in police work:

It was a late summer night in 1998.

My partner and I were on patrol in a marked police car in the area of 11th Ave and W50 Street in Manhattan at approximately 3AM.  I was in the passenger seat of the car with my window open.  Our patrol car was traveling northbound when we came across four males walking in the street.  I said, “That’s why they made sidewalks,” to the males.

One of the males said in a low voice “Keep following us.”  I immediately told my partner to stop our car.  When we stopped, one of the males crossed in front of our car about 2 feet from my partner who was in the driver’s seat.  The male reached into his waistband.  I immediately opened my door and drew my firearm, pointing it at the male, and yelled for him to show me his hands.  At that point my partner was able to exit the car and ordered the other three males not to move.  One of the males ran from the scene.  My partner immediately radioed for back up, transmitting a description of the male who fled.

My partner and I ordered the three remaining males (including the male who went to his waistband) onto the sidewalk and up against a wall.  I covered the three males at gunpoint as my partner moved in to pat them down for weapons.  As I was covering my partner a male voice approached from behind and said, “Fire Marshall, I got your back” and extended his hand with a firearm.  You can imagine how terrifying that was, but also a reassuring feeling.

My partner soon secured the three males we were holding against the wall.  No weapons were found.  Within moments, several additional units were on the scene and searching the area.  Within minutes, and a short distance away, we were able to apprehend the fourth male, who was in possession of a firearm.  The fourth male’s accomplice was wearing a bullet proof vest.

Upon securing the scene and all involved, we were able to ascertain that a robbery was in progress.  The male who reached for his waistband, as well as his friend, were actually the victims of the robbery.  When I asked the male why he went to his waistband he stated, “Because I knew if you thought I had a gun you would stop us all.”  I told him that was not very smart and that he came very close to getting shot.

Thankfully this incident ended the way it did.

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