Last Thursday night I was riding with Officer Bob Barnett of Arlington and nothing much was happening, odd since the weather had turned warm and every degenerate in the county should have been out robbing and killing. We were in a shiny new dark-green unmarked car with the air-conditioning on, talking about nothing in particular. The call came to go to a hospital to write up a report on a drug overdose. On the way Barnett told me he had graduated from Rutgers in finance, worked for a few years in New York as a financial analyst before he realized he couldn’t stand it and went into the cop business. It made sense to me.
More about the OD another time. We did little stuff like that for a couple of hours, and then a report came of shots fired on South 26th Street. We were close. We arrived on the scene, a dark residential block. Another squad car had just gotten there and the officer talking to a couple of witnesses who said It Happened Over There. They thought a man had been shot and run a bit before collapsing. Witnesses usually get things about half right. People don’t remember the unexpected very well.
Barnett accelerated to the corner they indicated, and there was a thin young Hispanic lying on the sidewalk, face up, with his arms at his sides. We hopped out. The kid looked to be a gangbanger. His shirt had risen up and the gang tattoos were visible on his stomach. He was breathing laboriously, his chest heaving, which would have been worth something if the top of his head hadn’t been missing. I promise he hadn’t run anywhere after being shot.
Head shots aren’t pretty. There wasn’t much bleeding, but the guy’s brains were swelling out of the wound. Barnett called for medical help because that’s what you do, but there wasn’t much point. For a few minutes we looked for cartridge casings until the medical types showed up. They ran over with their tubes and wires and things but they might as well have been trying to resurrect a watermelon. The packaging was there, but the kid was gone.
More police arrived and Barnett kept looking for spent cartridges. About fifteen feet from the body, on the road, he found a blob of pink jelly-brain tissue, which established the direction of the shot. No cartridge, so it may have been a revolver. The med guys got a suction unit going and there was a lot of sucking and gurgling and they managed to intubate the guy and get him into an ambulance. EMT folk rate more credit than they get, but miracles they can’t do.
The witnesses said they had had heard a shot and then two cars, one white and one black, had accelerated away and disappeared. One of the drivers was said to be female. Interesting. A couple of months before while I was riding there had been an attempted drive-by in what was said on the radio to be a black car. The cops tried to stop a white car, apparently involved, and the occupants bailed out. A few were caught. One said the driver had been a female. They were Hispanic and had the same tattoos on their bellies.
Back at the scene, Barnett and the other cops were talking to several Hispanic teen-agers who seemed to have known the body. The kids wore the usual ghetto-bag costumes, spoke marginal English, and seemed awful young to know anything about murderers. There are some sad children in the world. They either didn’t know or wouldn’t say anything.
The police said the dead guy-though he wasn’t, quite-seemed to be one of a bunch of members of the Los Angeles gang MS, which I’d never heard of, recently arrived in Arlington. These are killers, said the cops, serious gangbangers, not the wannabes that have characterized the county. The shooting looked to be a cold hit — one shot to the head and vanish into the night.
My guess is that we’ll see more dead kids on sidewalks, especially if the West Coast bangers are coming in this direction. Immigration policy comes home to roost at last. Personally I like Hispanics, and don’t mind having them in the US, but I think we would have been smart to choose which ones to admit. Mexico is far less crime ridden than America. But it isn’t the law-abiding middle class that swims the river. Hold on to your hat.
Note: This happened some time ago, but struck me as interesting.