No. 6, Downing Street

I’m not going to let them in without a warrant. They can bang as hard as they like but I’m going to keep this crime scene locked up until I’m sure my family is safe. And until I tell you everything that happened here tonight.

My wife and I were seeing off our family friend at dusk earlier today when this young man ran down our lonely street, apparently trying to escape from someone we couldn’t see or hear. He couldn’t have been more than 16. He was almost as tall as I am but without the settled weight of a young man who has completed his growth spurt. He had a square afro cut, a sleeveless cardigan on top of his cotton casual top, with his skinny jeans ending in comfortable high top sneakers.

It all happened so fast. Suddenly a police helicopter appeared out of nowhere with a blinding searchlight. We were so startled we couldn’t respond immediately to this new information. Our door was ajar and the young man, being further down the adrenaline rush than we were, ran into our house to escape. That was when my legs found themselves and I instinctively chased the teen into my house, reaching him just as he saw the guest toilet door in the living room.

Somehow I got to him before he reached the toilet door, tackling him to the ground. I struggled to immobilize him like I would hold my three year old son down for an immunization shot, and failed as well. The young man – Darren, I’ll call him – got into the toilet, shut the door and tried to turn the double sided lock while my hand was resisting the lock motion from the other side of the door. That was the point at which the police came through the front door to support me.

The burly officer barreled through the toilet door as I crawled out of the way at the last possible second. I hate guns and stray bullets. By the time I realized my wife and kids were still in the living room I was looking out from the kids room, panting from my struggle with Darren. I composed myself and walked back to the living room while the words, “Target down, over” were being said into a radio crackling somewhere. Then I saw Darren.

A dull red puddle of blood was already slowly spreading from his head as he lay lifeless on the floor. He wasn’t even moving or twitching. I hadn’t heard any shots fired so it felt like the hole in his head had appeared from nowhere. For the third time that night I was utterly frozen in confusion and then moving my legs on impulse, back to the room, shaking my head with my eyes tightly shut as I tried to erase the image of the first dead body I had ever seen outside a funeral.

I kept saying, “no, don’t kill him, don’t kill him, don’t kill him, don’t kill him” as I left the living room. My mind hadn’t accepted he was dead. Death takes time, doesn’t it? We couldn’t have skipped calling 911 or doing CPR just like in the movies, could we? This was not how people so full of life passed on, not that quick, not that silent. Not that unceremoniously without dying words or goodbyes being spoken.

Don’t kill him, don’t kill him, don’t kill him, don’t kill him.

My wife and kids were still in the living room. My second son was staring at the body on floor, taking it all in. I was horrified and alarmed but somehow couldn’t process moving my body to the living room. I screamed at my wife and help to get our children away from the scene. It was so unreal how I was the only noisemaker in the entire situation. We could have been in a communion service with the silence that descended on the living room with the knowledge that Darren was dead.

The policemen, three of them (two white, one black), took the body out, leaving my front door ajar again. At this point I was aware that my door should never be ajar ever again and I ran to lock it full security mode like we were shutting down early for the night.

Now, why are they banging on my front door? What do they want to ask me about? Do they really want to talk or they want me not to talk? I’m terrified for myself and my family. There’s a small crowd on my lawn behind a yellow and black police “Do Not Cross” tape that must be placed wrong, because innocent me is behind it. This is not a hostage situation, is it? I’m the victim here. What are all the police lights for? Why is everybody outside filming my house like I’m in a breaking news or world star clip?

My front door stays locked until I see a warrant and until this story account is posted on my blog. I’ve never been so shaken in my life but I will not have this story twisted while I can do anything about it.

I live at No. 6, Dougherty lane, New Jersey and no, there’s no need to call 911 for me.

The police are already here.


I love to learn. I love to teach. For me the two are the same.

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