Have you ever ran a call that made the hairs on the back of your neck stick up? You know that feeling that something just isn't right? Well, if you ever get those feelings, you need to pay attention. Your mind and body are trying to tell you something...
We get dispatched to an obscure address for a respiratory distress. Dispatch tells us that its beside a church, but no other information is available. But if memory serves me right, that church is abandoned. We arrived to find an old pickup sitting next to the church. I can see someone inside the truck. The windows are up, the doors closed and the vehicle isn't running.
I get out of the rig and it hits me. Something isn't right here. For one, if it is a respiratory distress, most people wouldn't be sitting cramped up in a vehicle when its over 70 degrees outside. I would imagine the door would be open to try to get some fresh air. Maybe even sitting with their feet on the ground, tripoding, etc. depending on how bad they were struggling to breath.
I make my way around the back of the truck, keeping a good distance. The windows are tinted so I can't see much inside. But I can see that the person isn't moving. Looking around the scene, there is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that would raise my suspicion level. It's the truck, or rather the person in the truck that's got me worried.
I continue to walk around the vehicle towards the drivers side door, keeping my distance. The hairs on the back of my neck starting to raise and someone has dropped a large rock in the pit of my stomach. As I get level with the driver, I can see it's a man. He doesn't seem to be in any respiratory distress from where I'm standing. Plus, he doesn't look at me. It's like I'm not even there. He continues to ignore me as I holler at him, approaching slowly. My partner has sensed my hesitation and is slowly bringing the cot and equipment out of the truck, keeping his eyes on me.
I get to within a few feet of the truck and the driver is still not paying me any attention. I move towards the front, in his line of sight and he still ignores me. I can see that he is alive. I can see him breathing and his eyes blinking. That's enough for me, I holler at my partner and tell him to get on the radio and get the cops here, now. We are right down the street from the sheriffs office, so it shouldn't be long before they get here.
I start to back off, keeping my eyes on the driver, not daring to turn my back. Just then my foot hits something and over I go. I land on my ass and see the rock sticking out of the ground that my heel struck. I hear my partner hollering and I look up.
I see the driver standing outside the vehicle. How the hell did he get out of the truck that fast? He has his hands in the pockets of a jacket that seems a bit too big. I can see his eyes. They seem blank. I don't know how else to say it, it was like the lights were on but no one was home, literally. Because I started talking to him and it made no difference. He was looking at me, but other than that, nothing, no response at all.
He takes one step towards me and stops. I start backing up, pushing with my hands and the bottoms of my feet. Trying to put distance between the two of us. I see his arms start to move. Then I see a something from a nightmare coming out of the pocket of his jacket. Flat black, metal and dangerous. A gun.
I get to my feet in the blink of an eye as he raises it level with my face. In an instant I am covered in sweat and my heart leaps into overdrive in my chest. It's amazing how big the barrel of a gun looks when it's pointed straight at you. My mind does some quick calculations. I am too far from him to jump at the gun and try to knock it away and there is nothing around me but open ground, so no help there either.
This is it, end of the line for you BRM... I close my eyes and a picture of my family jumps before me. I whisper a prayer and hope that it's a clean shot and it doesn't hurt...
I open my eyes and he is just looking at me. Then he moves his hand and puts the barrel in his mouth. The report is loud, but not as loud as I would have thought. I feel something wet hit me in the face as he falls to the ground. I can't move. I can't speak. I can feel someone shaking me.
I turn to see my partner is holding me by the shoulders, shaking me and saying something, but I can't hear him. I look back at the guy on the ground. His eyes are still open. The expression hasn't changed, still that blank stare.
Slowly my hearing seems to return and I hear approaching sirens and my partners voice, screaming at me now.
"I'm OK," I say. I remove his hands and wipe my face. My hand is red. I turn and walk back to the ambulance and sit on the tail board, my expression blank...
The entire event took less that 10 minutes.