COPS comes to Orange Park, FL
Okay, so I will lay it out for you as clearly as possible. First, there are no moments nor glimpses of heroism on my part. Hard to believe I know, but in the blink of an eye decisions are made. My decision was not about risk of peril or thumping some little thug, but rather it was a split second decision drenched in self preservation. But not the kind you may initially believe.
It began Thursday night when we finally arrived at our hotel. After running the luggage up to our room I took the cart back down to the lobby and stepped outside for a stealthful smoke. (Florida is about as facist as California when it comes to the enjoyment of tobacco.)
I had strolled around the corner of the building and was nearing the pool area. As I turned the corner to the pool, I see this “kid” barreling towards me at full throttle screaming “GET OUT OF THE WAY!!”. In an instant a barage of snapshots flashed with a series of mental deductions: 1.) Kid running towards me 2.) Why is he running? I just came from the lobby… nothing going on in there. 3.) 5’7″, light colored short hair, faded blue jeans, oversized black or dark navy hoodie 4.) Must just be some goofy kid playing cops and robbers with his friends 5.) Cops and robbers? 6.) Oh shit, he has a gun…
As the last realization sank in, the kid blew past me with only minimal “brushing” contact between us. No sooner than he was past me, he was across the short parking lot and hopping the fence to the next property. Immediately an unmarked Clay County car speeds up with the officer jumping out, looking at me and the pursuing on foot. I watched momentarily as the cop began to close in on his prey.
Then remembering my Dad was moving the car (to the opposite side of the hotel) I began to work that way hoping that he had not encountered this little punk. Back out front, I saw my father walking through the lobby. Seeing me he came out to join. At this point Clay County patrol cars are ALL over the area. Strobes and spotlights flashing and shining in every direction in an attempt to locate the kid’s partner/get-a-way driver.
With Dad safe and sound I headed back towards my original spot to talk with one, then two, then four other CC deputies about what I saw. Leading them to where the kid jumped the fence, we found the magazine from his Glock .40. Apparently the knucklehead had inadvertantly hit the magazine release button when he was going over the fence. Dumbass!
About 20 minutes later the original, pursuing officer returns to his car. By now I have already written out my statement and had it sworn into evidence. The kid is in custody and his accomplice is still at large. According to the officers, there had been a rash of robberies of hotel patrons coming back from the dog track and poker room down the street so the area was being watched – hence the unmarked car. The gentleman who was almost the latest victim was only (temporarily) relieved of his cell phone. Although the thought of being forced face down on the pavement with a .40 in your face was probably a more than a little unsettling.
Now… my dilemma: Given the obvious size disparity between the two of us, I could have easily stepped in a little more and dropped my shoulder bouncing the kid into the fence at which time he would have most certainly lost his weapon. It was truly a matter of less than 1.5 seconds to make this decision. The gun was really not so much a thought as was the potential that this was merely some idiot kid playing. Now, had a shouldered the little fella, knowing what I know now, I would have been touted as a hero by the hotel and the victim and yet scolded by my mother as insanely reckless.
The other possibility, NOT knowing what I know now, is that the kid was just that; a kid out too late playing. At which point my “interference” could have been interpretted as assault with a potential law suit or criminal charges directed my way.
Quite the crux, I’d say.
I finally made it back up to my room around 1:30am and had to retell the story to a disbelieving Nicole – wondering where in the Hell I’d been for the last hour and a half – I don’t think she was buying the initial text message.
All in all, the hotel was very appreciative and apologetic although my room wasn’t comp’d and I didn’t get a obligatory gift basket – not sure what that was all about.
In retrospect, I wish I had leveled the little bitch!