Suicides by gun.

I was a brand new cop. just a month out of training, when I got my first suicide call. I went to a local hospital where they had a 16yr old girl that had been brought in by medics. She had shot herself in the back of the head and she died at the hospital. She had killed herself with a 22 rifle. Looking at her dead body was a first for me. However in my career, she was the 1st of many to follow.

Still early in my career, about a month later. I respond to a call in a home just above the La Jolla cove. I guy had rented a room and the next morning his landlord called him out for breakfast. He didn’t respond and the landlord came into the room to check on him. He found him in bed holding a small automatic handgun in his right hand. He had shot himself in the head and he was dead. No reason why.

I had about 7 years on when I went on a suicide call with a trainee in southeast division. Someone called us to do a “check the welfare” on a friend of his. Had not heard from him and he was not answering his phone. We were able to get into the home and we found him on a couch in the living room. There was a shotgun on the floor next to him. He had put the shotgun in his mouth at an angle. The blast tore out the left side of his head. I found his ear on an end table about 15 feet away. The shotgun had his teeth marks on the end of the barrel. Not a very clean scene.

Shots fired.

I was working graves in southeast in the early 1990’s and I responded to a “shots fired” call off Acacia St. A couple Officers were out on a traffic stop and their car got hit by a bullet on the rear window frame. A car drove past at the same time and both Officers opened fire on the car. They hit the car a few times, hitting the gas tank and the right rear tire. The driver stopped and several of us approached the vehicle. We felt he could be armed and one SWAT cop was going to fire a gas round from a shotgun, to force the suspect out of his car. I saw the gas leak and told him to not do that. We got the guy out and searched his car. He didn’t have a gun or any kind of weapon. I went and checked the officers back window. The mark on the frame was from a rock. The local gang members had a habit of using a slingshot to shot at cops. When the rock hit it sounded like a gunshot and the guy driving by happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Southeast on graves and My trainee and I were responding to a disturbance call. I was the passenger and as I walked around the right side of the car I heard a deep growl of a big dog coming at me. I could not see the dog, because he was in the shadow. I was too far from my door, so  I jumped on the hood of my car. There was another officer just behind me and he drew his gun and shot at the dog when it cleared the shadow. He didn’t hit the dog, but he scared it away.

Shots fired, a chase and a shooting.

I was working 2nd watch in the late 1980’s in southeast division with trainee. A couple officers were on foot in a high gang area when they heard rapid gunfire. The officers saw a B/M get into a car and he was holding a M-1 carbine (30 cal semi-automatic rifle) The male took off and the officers got into their car and the chase was on. My trainee was driving and we were stopped in traffic at Euclid and Imperial. The chase was coming our way s/b on Euclid and we were stopped to see where the suspect was going to go when he got to where we were. He made a right turn and there were two units directly behind him. The third unit was a couple hundred yards back and I told my trainee to follow the 2nd unit. He didn’t react quickly enough and by the time he pulled out to follow we almost got hit by the 3rd unit. We got into the chase and other police cars started to pass us. I told him to speed up and stay with the flow. The lead unit got on the radio and advised that the suspect just held up the rifle with his right hand. He turned n/b on 47th st and a minute later he stopped and ran from his car. The driver of the 1st car shot once at the suspect as he ran. He went into a large apartment complex and we found him about 20 minutes later. He told us he held up the rifle, because it had jammed and he was trying to clear it.

Girl gangsters.

In the early 1990’s I was working in the Special Enforcement Division. Our main job was to conduct patrols in high gang areas of San Diego and to contact gang members. One evening my team (8 officers and a Sgt) responded to a gang fight in a park near 40th and Market. We found a male there who had been beaten and stabbed. There we a couple witnesses who saw a white pick-up truck pull into the park and several teenage females jump out of the truck bed. They were armed with bats and sticks. They attacked some males in the park and beat them with their weapons. The girls all got back into the truck and they took off. We found the truck and stopped it. All of the females were arrested and the truck bed had several bats and sticks in it. The truck was driven by the mother of one of the suspects and she was a gang member from LA. All of the girls were in an all girl gang in the east county of San Diego. They came into San Diego to find some male gang members to beat up.

Gang shooting, family style.

I was working 3rd watch in southeast San Diego when a shooting call came out at a known gang house on 37th street. About 10 minutes after the shooting call we got a call of a man lying on the sidewalk on 40th street. When I got to the 37th st location the people there said that nothing had happened. I checked the interior of the home and I saw blood on the floor in a back room and signs of a struggle. The man on 40th st had been shot, but, of course, he didn’t know who shot him or where it happened. After he was taken away by the medics the Officer at the scene started following his blood trail. I started following the blood trail from the crime scene and the two of us met a couple blocks away. So there had been a shooting on 37th st. A month later I went to court on the shooting case. The victim, who was a gang member and also on parole, had an attorney sitting next to him while he was questioned by the DA. He had an attorney because he had violated his parole during the incident that led up to him being shot. He had gone over to the 37th st location to buy some rock cocaine from his cousin, who was a member of a rival gang. As it happens with gangsters getting together, one thing lead to another and someone pulls a gun. One cousin shooting the other.

Helping people.

I always felt that part of the job was to help someone each day. Yes, I was a boy scout and I did think of that as a “good deed”.

I was driving down Imperial at about 6 am and I saw a female walking quickly and she appeared to be crying. I stopped and asked if she was ok. She said her car just broke down and she had to get to work. She had no money for a cab and the buses were not running yet. I asked her where she worked and she said at the main post office. I told her to get in and I drove her there. She had planned to walk the 15 miles to work.

If I saw trash in the road or something else that might effect traffic I would stop and move it out of the roadway. Several times I would come upon someone stalled in traffic and push them to somewhere safe. I can’t count the amount of people that I have taken to gas stations, after they ran out of gas. I drew the line on people that would wave me down and ask for a ride, just because they didn’t walk to walk. I would just point to the side of my car and say: ” do you see ‘yellow cab’ on my car?”

Trainees

I was a training officer for over 18 years and I had 75 trainees during that time. I had several good trainees and a couple poor ones. The rest were in the middle.

I do not believe in yelling at trainees, it shows that you are not in control. I did yell at one trainee, once. We were working “c” squad in downtown San Diego. I saw a homeless guy stop in front of a small tree and pull out his penis and start to pee on it. We stopped him for urinating a public and he was going to get a ticket for that offense. My trainee was writing the ticket as a spoke with the guy. He started to get upset and wave his arms in the air. He then started yelling about getting the ticket. I grabbed him and started to handcuff him. I looked at my trainee and he was still writing the ticket. I yelled: ” What the fuck at you going?” He dropped the ticket book and helped me cuff him. I asked why he didn’t help and he said that he saw me “choke out ” a guy a couple days before and he knew I could handle him myself. I told him that we fight people together. After the guy calmed down I released him after he signed the ticket.

I had a trainee in southeast on 2nd watch. He was a former army MP with 4 years of service. He was so good that I was able to teach him things that most officers did not know. He caught on quickly and It was a pleasure training him.

I got a trainee that failed 5th phase and he was sent to me to do his phase 5 again. He was a retired marine master sgt and set in his ways. There wasn’t much I could do with him. But in the end he was safe, could hear and answer the radio and write a report. You can’t ask much more from someone in training.