Picture this: it’s your typical Sunday afternoon. Football is playing on the television, you’ve finally gotten the kids and the missus out of the house and you’re about 30 seconds away from finally kicking back in your recliner and enjoying the final few hours of the weekend when, out of nowhere, a SWAT team starts swarming all over your house.
Cue panic if you’ve got a bong sitting out on your coffee table, or mild amusement if you’re a straight-arrow who likes to spy on your neighbors. Because in this case, the SWAT team isn’t here for you — frankly, you’re boring. No no, the problem today is the potential hostage situation going down in a home across the street. According to Imgur user GeneralZodsChicken (yum), a police SWAT team swarmed all over his yard and eventually burst into his house in order to set up a safe position from where they could cover the neighboring house. Being incredibly chill about the whole thing, GeneralZodsChicken not only took photos and uploaded them to Imgur, but has a screenshots of the text conversation he had with his wife during the whole ordeal.
GeneralZodsChicken: I get the feeling something is up.
Ok, story time. My eldest is outside with his friend when he pops his head inside to let me know there are 3 cop cars at the end of our street. I think no big deal. Pulled over a speeder, quiet day, they’re bored so congregate for something to do. Then I get updated there are 5 cars and dogs. That’s not a speeding ticket response. I go out and now there are 7 vehicles, cops in riot gear, dogs (Belgian Malinois, of course), assault rifles visible, and the nearest officer tells us all to get inside. No problem there. I text the wife who has the other 2 kids with her, and tell her to stay clear for a while. Then I hear voices near our front door, and get the next few pictures out our windows.
GeneralZodsChicken: Covering the scene.
This guy set up in the cherry tree next to my front door.
GeneralZodsChicken: More support across the street.
This was out my front window.
GeneralZodsChicken: Still more support.
This was out of my side window. Same cherry tree, but the officer from #2 has back up now. I am of course texting with my neighbor about the whole thing when I get a knock on the back door to the patio….
GeneralZodsChicken: My house becomes an operation point.
A very tall officer asks to come in and gives me an update on what’s going down. Evidently some guy in the house across the street is threatening people with a crossbow and may be looking for suicide-by-cop. Now, this house I know, so I’m not too surprised. The mom is nice enough, but her kids are all a train wreck. Stereotypical white-trash, if you will. Said officer then asks to look out my front window. He comes back and says it is a perfect vantage/cover point for snipers and would I give permission for them to set up in my house? This way they can try to ensure no one else is harmed if things go south. I grant permission and am thanked profusely as this will give the most protection to the sniper team. (Evidently others refuse these requests because they either don’t like police or don’t want to be involved.)
GeneralZodsChicken: I inform the neighbor.
Situation is indeed serious. I am not.
GeneralZodsChicken: Figuring out the situation.
Crossbow sighting is confirmed by my neighbor. Also, it seems the mom (Barbara) is in the house still. At this point, I don’t really think she’s a hostage. She’s totally self-sacrificial when it comes to her kids, so I’m assuming she wouldn’t want to leave the son anyway.
GeneralZodsChicken: Real live SWAT snipers.
In my living room. They came through the back patio and set up just as nice as you please. They were of course monstrous men and totally ripped. The white door in the picture (through the right-hand window) is the house they were covering.
GeneralZodsChicken: More info through eaves-dropping.
I updated the neighbor of the situation and he is of course just as irreverent as I am. By listening to the radio on the SWAT team, I get confirmation that the mom is still in the house and the son is at least on the phone to the negotiators.
GeneralZodsChicken: Updating the wife.
Prior to this I spoke with my wife on the phone and she took the kids someplace for lunch, rather than home (obviously). For some reason I got a kick out of the range calculation so shared with the wife. Also, they did not remove the screens in order to retain the normal look of the housefront. The purple chair: We have an armchair that we are constantly telling the kids not to sit on the arms of, hence the exchange about the spotter and his choice of seating.
GeneralZodsChicken: The saga continues and my arm chair is saved.
It’s now about 12:30 and this has all been going on for about 1.5 hours. No idea. The spotter did move down to the seat cushion, for which I was (silently) appreciative.
GeneralZodsChicken: Still going.
Continue updating the other half and we compliment each other on keeping the place tidy. As an aside: The 911 call happened Saturday evening on my way home from dropping the oldest off at a birthday party. Van with flashers was on the shoulder of the exit ramp, guy kneeling in the grass, wife with a hijab scurrying around and looking panicked. I stop and see if they’re ok. Guy is having a tachycardic episode (extremely rapid heartbeat) and had to pull over. They have no idea where they are and the wife is 1) very upset, 2) not a fluent English-speaker, and 3) also taking care of their kid in the van. She dials 911 on her phone and I talk to the dispatcher for her and give directions and relay a few Q&As back and forth. Ambulance and rescue arrive in about 3 minutes and I am on my way. See? Easy. No rifles or dogs.
GeneralZodsChicken: Sunday + SWAT = no football (or anything else).
Normally my son has a baseball game on Sunday afternoon (fall ball), so I always miss any decent NFL games. Living in the Baltimore area, the Ravens/Steelers games are always good. Today, we can’t leave the house to get to the game and I have snipers sitting where I would watch the game. My wife has other concerns and offers helpful suggestions.
GeneralZodsChicken: About 3 hours later, all done.
So the end of it was that the mom and negotiators were able to talk the son down and the crossbow was removed (yes, he was going to shoot himself with a crossbow) and everyone came out of the house. The SWAT team tidied up, said thanks, and left the way they came in. We all agreed we did not necessarily want to meet again. A bit later, my wife arrives home just in time to talk with the mom from the house and got the full story, which I relay to the neighbor. Apparently the son, James, is really depressed and obviously suicidal. Not a fun time for the family.
*In light of all of this, always, please reach out if you need to. You’re not alone and help is there. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255.*