Part 1: Hired Gun Pro
Hired Gun Pro
It was another day at the detention center. I was walking towards the 15-16 year old unit to get a frequent flyer. When I say frequent flyer, I mean a kid who had been in and out of this facility since he was eight years old. As I headed towards his unit I couldn’t help but to feel sorry for his situation. It’s a catch 22 with these kids. I have learned in my 10 years of working in this field, and starting out as a probation officer that the kids that continue to stay in the system are the ones with the broken homes. Rodney was born to a crack addicted mother who also had seven other children who are all either in foster care, detention, jail, or prison. None of them really knew their father, and if they did know who he was they didn’t have much contact with him. Rodney did not remember much of his mother, because he was 2 years old when the department of child services took him from her. Some of the reports read that he had been in a home with little to no food. That dirty diapers of his laid all around the house, and that the house was not of living standards and was condemned not long after the kids were removed. The catch 22 is that he came from an environment that fostered no love to him, to a system that he sees as an entity that has ripped him from his family. All of his life he has been shoved from and to foster parents that have abused him, to foster homes that have tried to love him, to placement centers for counseling, to this detention center to correct his acting out behaviors. What “normal” person, if the word “normal” really encompasses everyone, would not act out living the life he has lead. He has no trust, because no one has been in his life long enough for him to trust. As soon as he tries to establish a relationship, or someone tries to get close to him, he acts out, the family gives up and the system jumps into place. Catch 22, we punish those for displaying emotions, and call them delinquents or a threat to the community or themselves. And in most cases they are, and what are we, Normal?
Rodney was waiting in the holding area. He seemed a little nervous behind the big door that held him captive. He was curious about who was coming to see him. One thing about Rodney is that if anyone tries to get close to him on their terms, he puts up a wall. This wall protects him from the anxiety of developing a relationship with someone, or allowing someone to make him feel. His hallway door opened. And he looked up at me as if to ask where he was going.
“Hey Rodney, Lets go, I have to take you to see the counselor.”
“What counselor,” he turned up his face, as he entered into the hallway towards the visiting room.
“The one you saw before being detained this time, I think her name is Mrs. Wallrus.”
“Naw, Ms. Crystal, I don’t want to see her, all she do is talk bad about ma mom’s and I’m gone go off on her.”
“Rodney, all you have to do is sit there and listen to her. If you don’t like what she says, just take your mind to another place. Remember how we practiced that in group last week.”
“Ms. Crystal, that is hard. This lady know how to push my buttons and I don’t like her.”
“Well, Rodney unfortunately this is not Burger King and you can not have it your way.”
I could see the anxiety in his walk. He started to walk out of term. In the detention center all the juveniles are given instructions on how to walk in the halls and address staff. He started walking out of term and he knew it.
“Rodney, what are you doing? Lock your hands, you have been here long enough to know the rules.” He started to look around as if to see who else was in the hallway. I knew what that meant.
“Naw, Ms. Crystal I anin’t going.” He turned to run the other direction, and the court security guard, Mike, was coming from court with another juvenile. I could hear a code for back-up being called over the radio. He turned back towards me thinking he could probably get past me better than he could Mike who is 6 feet tall and 280 pounds. The other juvenile that Mike had in the hallway, immediately got up against the wall, another command all the residents know to do when a fight or commotion breaks out. Rodney ran back towards me, slowing a little as if he wanted to be restrained. I was able to maneuver myself behind him to get him in the restrained technique all employees spent many years leaning while working at this facility. As I got a good hold on him he bounced his legs off the wall, pushing me to the floor with him landing on top of me. Just as Mike reached us, he grabbed a hold of Rodney getting him off of me and escorting him back down the hallway to his unit.
“Are you okay Crystal”, Mike yelled to me as he was walking in the direction I had just come from, back down the hallway with Rodney. Rodney was yelling that he didn’t want to see that lady, and trying to get out of Mikes hold, but it was a useless fight for Rodney. A couple other staff joined Mike in efforts of getting Rodney back down the hallway. I could hear them yelling at him, and him saying they had him to tight, that his arms hurt. I was a little shaken up by the entire incident and embarrassed that he had knocked me to the ground. I immediately went to the room where the counselor was. A normal looking lady sat there in her nice gray suit. As if she were reading something on her notepad that was really interesting. I know she had to of heard all the commotion. As the locked door opened, she looked up at me. I must have looked a mess, because she did not say a word.
“Rodney will not be at his session today, and I am guessing for a couple weeks to come. You can just leave out the door you came in” I didn’t wait for her response, I just closed the door back and left to my office. As I was passing the shift leaders office he called to me.
“Crystal, what happened out there?”
“I know you saw it on your camera.” He looked at me with a blank stare.
“Yes, you know I will need a report.” He put his hands on his hips in an authoritative stance.
“Yes, I know.” I went to turn in the direction of my office and heard a small laugh coming from him. The guys take every opportunity to make fun of a restraint gone wrong. And I knew I was going to hear about this for weeks.
As I sat at my desk people out of everywhere started to poke their heads into my office. One of which was Mike who was genuinely concerned about my well being. I told him I was okay. Others just wanted the details, and I was upset about the whole occurrence. My butt hurt from the fall, but in no way was I going to express that on my face. I should have just taken him back to the unit when I knew he didn’t want to see her. All the thoughts of things I could have done better filtered my mind. So many people started to come by my office and closing the door did not seem to keep them out, so I left the building for some fresh air. The air outside was so comforting. It had been raining all morning and the sun just started to peak out of the clouds. When the air filled my lungs it felt and smelled so good.
“Crystal, you know we are going to have to debrief on what you did wrong.” I just headed down the back sidewalk to the back of the building, ignoring that comment from someone being sarcastic and wanting to poke fun at administration. But I was not feeling like hearing this at the moment. I know the procedures I had been here for 10 years, and no one could ever expect for a perfect restraint. As I got to the back of the building I went to sit on the curb in-between some cars so no one could see me. I knew this spot would conceal me from the jokesters. The buildings cameras could not even see me. As I gazed at the ground thinking I would rather be in Hawaii right now I heard a screeching sound as if a car was stopping suddenly. As I looked around the side corner of the building I could see two vans full of people jump out armed with weapons. My heart started to pump super fast, because I didn’t know what to make of this. They ran inside the building and I could hear gun fire and people screaming. I instantly sank behind the cars that were hiding me, peering from behind the cold damp bumper. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my cell phone. I looked down the parking lot and noticed that my car was only about 10 cars away. I ran as fast as I could to get to my car. Unlocked the doors and pulled out my revolver stashed under the seat. I only had 5 shots, and no other ammunition. I was not about to go “all dirty harry” in the building anyway. I just wanted to make sure I could protect myself in case I needed to. I put the ankle holster around my right leg. And hide behind the cars. I was thinking of jumping in my car and driving away, but they would see me. Before I could do anything else my fingers had dialed for help.
“911, what is your emergency”.
“I uhh am at work, the Juveniles Detention Center on Lakeland road, and two vans, full of people just got out with guns and ran into the building. I heard gun fire and people screaming.” I hung up the phone, and did not even notice that I did, because I saw the van coming around the corner closer to me. My heart sank as the people with weapons came rushing out the building towards the van. All I could do was pray that none of them saw me. I ducked as low as I could and started sprinting towards the open filed. As I looked back in the direction of the building I did not see anyone following me. I did notice that the group of people with the guns did not get into the vans they came out of. They were searching the area, and headed in my direction. I could see them looking into each parked car in the parking lot. I was glad for a minute that I didn’t hide in my car as a natural reaction. I was getting very tired, because I am no runner. I could see a building in the distance and kept running with the hope that I would soon reach it. I circled the building trying to find an open door. I sat in a spot of the building that was not visible to people passing by. As I peeked around the corner I could see them getting closer. I suddenly had to use the bathroom. I got scared and lined up my sights on a female I saw in the distance. I fired my weapon and the movement stopped, she fell backwards. As I ducked back in my spot I looked for somewhere else to take cover. There wasn’t anywhere else to go. I looked back around the corner of where I fired that shot and saw a woman who seemed to be in charge with her hand up as to tell the others to stop. As she came closer to where I was I wanted to yell at her to stop, but no words would come out of my dry mouth. There had to be a least 7 of them spread out in the distance. It seemed like only seconds that I was huddled in that same spot. I realized that I needed to move if I wanted to live. I turned around to run to another spot, but a gun was in my face. I froze, and the women I saw in the distance came up behind me.
“Who are you?” I could not speak. I know all of them could hear my heart beat it was so loud. As I slowly turned towards her I could see that two other people in the distance had joined the seven. They each stayed spaced apart with all their guns drawn on me. Some of them seemed blocks away. She looked at the guy who had the gun to my head.
“Hey, we could turn the radio station with that knob behind his ear.” They both laughed, and all I could think about was I was going to die and I had to pee really bad. And they were telling jokes with each other. Jokes, that obviously was just between them, because I was not capable of processing anything at this moment. I mid as well pee my pants. I had to go really bad.
“Did you fire that shot?” She looked intently at me. She had on a dull light yellow shirt and light solid green army pants. It was amazing at all the things I could see and observed in this moment. I saw a bird fly over us. It looked so close that if I had reached out my hand, I could have touched it. The guy who had the gun to my head had green eyes. He was intent on what he was going to do with that gun. She reached towards me and took my gun. I had tried to move it out of view and tuck it behind my right leg as if she wasn’t going to notice it. She examined my gun for a minute and opened it. She dumped my bullets in the grass counting four.
“Yep, that was you. Sarah come here.” She called out to a girl in the distance. A girl with a tight fitted purple fleece and big breast came up from behind me, passing the guy who still had the gun pointed at my head. It seemed like it took her a couple minutes to reach us. My life was moving in slow motion and all I could think about was that I was going to die, and I should just pee. I couldn’t pee. I wanted it to come out, but it wouldn’t. I was frozen.
“You hit her from over 100 yards, right in the chest, where did you learn to shoot like that.” I couldn’t make meaningless conversation at a time like this. She was crazy for thinking I could. She wanted me to explain myself. I just wanted them to kill me and get it over with. It must have showed on my face, because she just kept talking.
“Man, girl we could use a shot like you.” Lucky for you Sara is okay.
“Sara, see I told you to wear that vest. Glad you did today huh.” Sara did not speak either, but you could tell by the look on her face that the bullet in her vest hurt. She was not happy. She was rubbing where it left a mark and had pierced through her vest, and it seemed to have hit her skin a little. I couldn’t tell them that I had had years of gun training. My father loved guns and since I was a little girl I had shot them. I was an expert shot, but five bullets for 9 people was easy math for me to know that I couldn’t win this fight.
“They are hollow points Sara, God was with you today.” The lady turned towards me. I could see the others coming closer. The guy now behind me had lowered his gun, but it was in a ready position. She checked my pockets I guess looking for I.D., but thank God I did not have any on me. My stuff was still in the building they just raided. She handed my empty gun back to me, looking confused. I did not reach for it. I couldn’t. She looked towards the guy behind me as if to say, “what do you think?” I closed my eyes expecting the worse.
“That really was a good shot.” Here is your gun, go on your way, and don’t shoot at us again, or it will be your last shot. I saw a familiar face in this group. He looked at me and our eyes met. He shook his head no, as if to tell me to not acknowledge him, and I couldn’t anyway. I was frozen. This was like a nightmare, and I was present in body, but my mind had left. She threw my gun on the ground and made a circle in the air with her finger. When I turned around the guy behind me had already disappeared. I stood there motionless until I couldn’t see them anymore. With tears in my eyes I picked up my bullets and the gun and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t want to go back to my work building and I didn’t want to go in the direction they were going. I was so afraid. I opened my cell phone to call my mother. I know she must have seen the news. Or heard the commotion; however I could not have been that far from work, and I didn’t hear one siren, nor did I see one police car. What was going on? My cell phone had no service. Of course it wouldn’t. I ran, and ran, and walked and ran. I had put the bullets back in my gun and placed the gun back in my ankle holster. I finally came upon an area where there were a lot of people. I was so traumatized that I did not know where I was. I had the worst sense of direction anyway, and could not recognize any of the landmarks I had seen.
“Excuse me, a faint whisper came out of my mouth. Sorry, where am I.” A lady walking with her husband or boyfriend tuned towards me and seemed disgusted by my appearance. How I must have looked. “You are at Lakeland Lake. There were campers everywhere and I had to go to the bathroom really bad. My mind had left me, because before I knew it I had gotten into an empty camper and went to the bathroom. I seemed to come to my senses when I heard someone get into the camper. Two men started talking. They started up the camper and seemed to be about to leave. I sat on the closed toilet seat crying. I was surprised that they did not hear me. I wanted them to hear me, I wanted help. As they turned the corner, one of the men told the other to turn on the radio. I could hear the broad cast of the shooting at the detention center. All kind of speculations were going over the radio. That a high profile lawyer was to be in that building today and he was the suspected target. It seemed as if whoever they were looking for didn't show up. A security officer had been shot in his attempt to stop the armed people who entered the building. He was listed in critical condition. It must have been Mike that was shot. I heard one of the men in the camper say that this was a shame, and he sang in a funny voice “he wasn’t there.” It felt as if my heart sank into my stomach. The other man laughed. How could this be funny? I thought this had to be the day I die. What connection are these men to the people I just encountered. Maybe this was the man they were looking for. The other man was on the cell phone.
“I’m heading back now.” The camper came to a stop and I ran out the bathroom and jumped out the door onto the street. I could hear the men say, what was that, and the other say what did she hear? I ran as fast as I could towards people. I could see the mall in the distance and thought they would never find me there. The man in the passenger side of the camper got out of the camper and started running after me. I ran behind the building and he jumped on my back. He had my arms as I tried to reach for my weapon. I head bunted him, knocking him off me and he grabbed his head. I was able to get my weapon out and shot him in the face. I rolled over onto my stomach and started sobbing. What have I gotten into? I heard screeching noises of a car and could hear the driver of the camper yelling for his partner. His partner was dead. I pulled myself up off the ground and ran into the service section of the mall where employees or delivery people have access to the mall. The hallway was empty. I kept looking back with the gun in my hand. I had blood all over me and had to wipe it away from my face so I could see. I didn’t know if it was sweat or blood that had my vision disrupted, it could have even been tears. I found a bathroom and went inside and grabbed some paper towels. I sat on the stool with my feet up trying to be quiet and wiping my face. I was so afraid. I found my cell phone and called my mother’s number on speed dial. She answered franticly,
“Crystal, are you okay, where are you, I’ve been trying to call you, and she was crying. Mom, I’m.” I heard footsteps outside the bathroom. I could hear my mother’s voice crying franticly on the other end, and thought that whoever was outside, could hear her to. I hung up the phone and put it in my pocket. I had my gun drawn in front of me and my hands were shaking. I put the paper towel in my shirt, and held the gun with both of my hands, still shaking. The bathroom door opened with a sound that meant someone should have oiled the hinges. The footsteps were cautious, walking with precision. I knew it had to be the driver of the camper. I could see out the crack of the door him looking under the stalls. I noticed by looking at his reflection in the mirror that he had a big growth or bump behind his right ear. Tears were running down my face, and my hands shook so hard it was a challenge keeping the gun up. He slowly pushed back the door that I was behind. I fired a shot, and another, and another, and another, but my gun was empty. He fell back into the sink and held his chest. He quickly ran out of the bathroom, dropping his gun that had a silencer on the end. I couldn’t let him go without knowing if he was dead or not. I saw the movies when they don’t die and come after you. He had seen my face. I bet he had access of finding out who I was. I followed behind him as he exited the mall to the parking lot. Still holding his chest and bleeding. He was slower now in his walk. He staggered inside the camper and I hid behind the cars. There was no movement. I thought he was going to get another weapon and come after me, or call for help. It seemed like hours had passed and it was starting to get dark. No one came, and I did not hear any movement from the camper. I slowly walked towards the camper trying to stay out of the side mirror view. As I peeked into the door I could see the driver in the driver seat with something in his hands. He was hunched over. As I got closer I could see the guy I shot in the face dead in the back of the camper on the floor. The driver had pictures in his hand. He wasn’t breathing. As I looked at the pictures in his hands I could see a little girl that looked familiar in the pictures. I grabbed them from his hands and looked at them one by one with my heart sinking at the sight of each picture. I could not believe it! I took his camera he had on the dash board and looked through it. Tears started filling my eyes. There was a picture that was dated for today. It was a picture of the guy driving the camper, the girl with the dull light yellow shirt and light solid green army pants, and the guy who held the gun to my head with the green eyes. They had to be brother and sister. I could see the resemblance now. I could not see it before, but it was clear now. This had to be there father. I had killed their father. I looked on the floor and saw other pictures of some of the people I had seen today. A picture of Sara who I had shot, a picture of the guy who I had recognized earlier, and a business card that read, “Hired Gun Pro”.
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