I'm laying here on the couch around 4:30pm and I hear the unmistakable sound: BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG. Four shots, right outside my window. There is nothing like the sound of gunfire. When you read about people saying "yeah, I heard the shots, but I thought it was a car backfiring," they're full of crap. A gunshot is a sound like no other. And twice in the past few months I've heard it outside my windows, and twice people have died.
Today's incident involved a knife-wielding man who evidently stole a steak knife at Greystone's restaurant on Fifth Ave. He fled up Fourth to where he attempted to rob people at Bandar, which is a restaurant directly across the street from where I live. They called the cops and he was shot and killed by a police officer when he fled up Fourth Ave. to E Street and evidently refused to drop the knife.
It's a surreal thing to hear the gunshots and then--less than 2 minutes later--hear a helicopter overhead. I was laying here on the couch, taking my traditional daily nap, and after hearing the shots, I decided it would be a good idea NOT to go near the floor-to-ceiling windows for a bit. But the helicopter got me up and looking, and everyone else was, too. Everyone was facing up the street and within moments the entire block, from Broadway on the north to F Street at the closest corner was closed off. Three hours later, as I type this, it's still closed off. Watching it all on TV made it even more strange...that helicopter I heard circling overhead was showing me my neighborhood on the screen across from me. The view from my window had moved onto my television, in a horrifying way.
Ironically, it was announced last week that San Diego would not get as much federal grant money as originally anticipated since crime was down so much in the past year. This is the second person shot and killed in the same general vicinity in about the last 2-3 months. The first one was on a weekend night after the bars closed. She was gunned down on her birthday while celebrating downtown, an innocent victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They still haven't caught her killer, but she too was shot near Fifth and E. I heard that one, too.
It's kind of like lightning striking the same place twice. It seems impossible, but true, even more unlikely to happen so close to each other, time-wise. It doesn't really make me think about moving...today's was an officer-involved shooting, the other a random act of violence during a time span where I was safely in bed. Other people have died while I've lived here, other incidents of violence have happened. I suppose it's the price of daily living in any large urban area. But it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in those fragile pieces of glass separating me from the outside world of increasingly mean streets.