The Cop Who Got Shot and I Thought it was Fireworks

The year : This time I remember– Labor Day weekend 1979

I remember because my daughter was nine months old and I ended up on the news for the first time. I made national news once in 1996. I was on the Today show ( remote from the steps of my store) and Montel Williams wanted me to be on his show but I refused. I was also given Jane Pauley’s home phone in case I changed my mind and wanted to be on her show. Nothing about what happened involving that incident was funny. It was sad and horrifying. I will tell it someday.

There isn’t much funny about the cop being shot. The good thing is that he lived. Actually there was one sort of funny incident after everyone left that night.

I can still remember exactly what time it happened. It was Friday night at 9:50PM. I was watching Dallas.

1980.jpg I never missed an episode. I was a Dallas fanatic. I was in the living room laying on the couch, my husband was in the bedroom. He wasn’t a Dallas fan (unless you were talking football). Coming from outside I heard what sounded like a car back firing or fireworks. I wasn’t sure. I looked out the window to the main road. Again, it was dark, but I could see one car passing another in a no pass zone and I figured one of them had thrown fireworks out the window and maybe they were racing. The car in the right lane braked hard and came down our street. I actually ducked down on the couch not wanting them to see me in my big picture window. I figured they would probably throw fireworks at me. I have no curtains in my house. I hate curtains and shades. So you can really see into our house.

The car never went by my house it pulled into the driveway of the house next door, the first house on my street. I figured it was my neighbor’s two outlaw sons just messing around. If you read my blog about the Man and the gun in my yard you’ll know what I mean.

Suddenly, I hear my husband yelling at me “There’s something going on next door and it’s bad. There’s a lot of screaming .” I ran into the bedroom and sure enough they are all screaming next door and I am wondering “What did those boys do now?”

Then we hear a knock on our back door so we both rush to the door and it’s the neighbor’s little 11 year old daughter. She’s hysterical. She says “A cop’s been shot. He’s in our living room and he’s bleeding everywhere.” I’m thinking, one of their kids shot a cop. I get on the phone and call the police because I really don’t know if anyone has yet. But they are already on their way. The little girl bolts out the door and heads for her house. My husband says he better go over there and I’m yelling at him not to because I’m convinced one of the boys shot a cop and they might shoot my husband. But he heads over there anyway. I put on the scanner and it’s going crazy. Within minutes , our small street is lined up with every town vehicle there is. Police cars (all of them) fire engines, ambulances. Hell has broken loose on my street.

I stayed in the house. I am just too afraid to go outside. I watch from the window. People running back and forth, total chaos. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, my husband comes back home and tells me that the police want to talk to me. Evidently, someone in the car passing the one that pulled down our road had a gun and shot the driver of the other car in the face. The driver turns out to be a cop on his way to work. And I watched the whole thing happen. As I explained to the police, I may have been watching but I really didn’t see anything. It was dark and I couldn’t tell what kind of car the shooter was in. I thought fireworks were going off.

Finally everyone left. The street is quiet and then we hear another shot. My husband, and both neighbors on either side of me meet in the middle of the road and head towards the main road. I’m on the phone calling the cops again. The three guys are at the main road now and suddenly they all start running towards there homes. I never saw three men run so fast. My husband gets in the house and says “There’s a car up the road and one of the guys in it has a shotgun.” Well, I was the smart one and had called the police and I knew who was in the car with the shotgun. It WAS the police and the shot WAS a car backfiring.

The next day the police were scouring the road looking for evidence and the press had arrived and that’s when I got interviewed. I went up the street to get my mail (the mailboxes for our street are lined up on the main road). As I’m being interviewed, I’m holding my daughter, who proceeds to eat the mail. That’s how we appear on TV. Me talking and my daughter eating the mail. I make sure to tell the newsperson that I didn’t see much. At this point I’m afraid whoever did it will come back and shoot me if they think I’m a witness.

That same afternoon, a detective came to my house to interview me again. The police were actually talking about hypnotizing me. The detective felt after the interview with me that I probably wouldn’t be able to identify the car the shooter was in.

The tragedy is that no one ever got punished for the deed even though the whole town eventually knew who did it. I keep wondering if I had been able to describe the car with the shooter, would I have had the nerve to. The person who everyone knows did it was already a suspect in two other murders. The policeman who got shot moved out of town to an undisclosed place. I think he was afraid that they would come back for him. They think it was all drug related.

A few weeks later, a well dressed man came to my door asking me if I knew where the policeman who was shot lived. I said no and shut the door and called the police. I assume it was probably the press. But I never found out.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. moonbeammcqueen
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 22:08:14

    I’m starting to feel really safe in my urban neighborhood here! What a sad story.
    And I can’t believe you have no curtains on your windows!

    Can’t wait to hear the story about turning down Montel.


  2. joanharvest
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 22:17:40

    Curtains sort of give me claustrophobia. I do have one curtain in my bedroom on my neighbor’s side. We have a vernal pool in our backyard and no one is allowed by the town to build there. The living room and kitchen have no curtains. I have lots of skylights in both my bedroom and the living room. I like the openness of it. It makes me feel like I am outdoors.
    The Montel story is very sad so I will have to write a few happy ones in between.


  3. CuriousC
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 08:43:56

    Wow. You are REALLY good at making your readers want MORE! and you might have to explain what a vernal pool is now. (Make it up. It sounds funnier than what it is… right?)


  4. Wendy
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 00:53:12

    Another great story. I loved that you were convinced one of the kids next door shot a cop.


  5. Barbara
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 16:37:55

    Bear in mind that when Joan was crawling around on the floor that night from window to window, fearing bullets would soon be flying over her head, she was on the phone to me the entire time. It was horrifying.


  6. romi41
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 23:46:42

    That was very serious and sad, and yet still you gave me little ribbons of humour, like your daughter eating your mail…haha…ohhhh I love this blog 😉


  7. Little Miss
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 23:50:51

    Holy Crap! I would have moved. That would have scared the bejeebus out of me for sure. The man at the door was probably the perp.

    Do tell about Montel. 😉


  8. joanharvest
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 02:11:39

    I will tell about Montel soon but it is a really sad story with a very sad ending.


  9. Trackback: 48Hours! Almost 30 years Ago! « Whatever I think
  10. Amy
    Feb 16, 2009 @ 15:12:36

    I watched this story Saturday night on 48 Hours Mystery and just ordered the book thru interlibrary loan at my local library. The story was very sad indeed. And every town has a bully who thinks he/she is immuned from the law sadly.


  11. Barbara G. Fitzpatrick
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 09:05:26

    I happened upon this Blog after reading the book “The Year We Disappeared”. My Cousin was killed by the man that shot John Busby and his death was never prosecuted. He was only 16 years old and my Aunt Verna vowed she would not leave Falmouth until his killer was brought to justice. She died there. I had been looking for a copy of the Detective Magazine that ran the story on my Cousin’s Death “The Boy Found In The Cranberry Bog” when I happened on the articles of his death and of the other crimes this man got away with, which lead me to the Book. I have been trying to make some sort of sense of all of this but have found that there is none.


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