Monday, July 2, 2007

Too Close for Comfort

I was at work today when a shooting call came over the police scanner. In the block I live in. I jumped in the car and sped over there, hoping for a false alarm. When I rounded the corner I knew that wasn't the case. Police cars and fire trucks and ambulances were everywhere, and a house about three doors down from mine, one where I always see little kids playing in the yard, was surrounded by police tape. A million things crossed my mind at once, and it occurred to me that there might be a murderer prowling the neighborhood. I was shaking as I parked in my driveway, picked up my camera and leaped out of my Jeep. Even a phone call from fellow photographer Jim Hudelson saying that it was a possible suicide did little to calm me down.

The newspaper doesn't cover suicides, but since what happened was still up in the air I stuck around. Moments later I was taking pictures of a wailing woman who was sitting on a chair in front of the house, her left arm covered in blood. Other people ran up, crying. Some of the children I'd seen before were on a neighbor's porch, wiping tears from their eyes. I don't like photographing that kind of stuff as it is, and the fact that I could take in the scene from my front porch made things much worse. It was all very surreal.

I moved into my house less than two months ago, and I had yet to speak to the next-door neighbor. She was standing on her front porch, so I went over to talk to her and I apologized for having to meet under such circumstances. She said that normally the street is pretty quiet and I certainly hope she's right - from here on out.

Details are still unclear on what happened. Check out The Times website for updates.

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