Well, except for the gunshots, which I didn’t hear, because I was about 10 minutes away, on my way to town.
And I can see why putting up detour signs at the bottom of the hill, so that people wouldn’t have to drive up, only to be turned back, wasn’t a top priority.
I crested the minor arterial linking rural county with town, a couple of minutes later approaching the recycling center, where, less than an hour earlier, I had just dropped off our recycling on my way to town. Then I saw something very unusual—unusual for anywhere, much less for our rural section of one of our state’s smallest counties.
I had never before seen so many law enforcement vehicles along a street—anywhere—and I have lived in some high-crime metropolitan cities across the country.
The first word-image to enter my mind was actually “chariots of fire.” Nothing was on fire, but flashing red lights lined both sides and the middle of the road, nearly as far ahead as I could see. I thought it had to be a horrific accident, but I didn’t see an ambulance.
I later learned there were so many law enforcement cars because six agencies were involved: three county sheriff departments, and three city police departments. The State Patrol will conduct the investigation.
Cars proceeded at a slow pace. I could see that the drivers were speaking with a law enforcement officer, turning around in a parking lot, and heading back toward town. It all seemed so strange that my mind switched completely off conjecture mode. I simply waited my turn to ask the sheriff’s deputy what was going on.
My turn soon came, and I asked whether there had been an accident. Our sheriff’s department is a model of courtesy and efficiency, truly. The deputy told me there had been a foot pursuit, and that all suspects were in custody. “Good!” I responded, lifting my thumb. The deputy gave me instructions for the extensive detour. I assumed the road closure was still in effect for evidence gathering.
I was able to get to the neighborhood market to pick up our meat order. Thankfully, it was on the side of the detour that made it accessible from the detour and to my way home. Later in the day, as I followed gradually unfurling news updates, I learned that the neighborhood market’s window took a bullet before I arrived, probably while I was on my way to town. But the store remained open, and there was no buzz about the window.
Following the local news updates throughout the day, I learned that a Drug Task Force operation had gone south; that gunshots were fired near a middle school and an elementary school; that there had been a car-to-car exchange of gunfire between a car containing five fugitives and one piloted by a law enforcement officer; and that another brave officer finally rammed the fugitives’ car with his own, bringing the car chase to a halt.
Things like this are generally speculated to be about as frequent as asteroid impacts in our surrounds. I’ve only lived here five years, but I’m skeptical of native intelligence. I believe in the ubiquity of sin.
Thankfully, no one was hurt. The schools were on lockdown most of the day, their last day of the school year.
Our judge has assigned my husband to defend one of the five suspects: one of two men charged with firing at police officers, as well as four felony counts of assault in the first degree.
God’s largesse to my small dumb self throughout yesterday morning stands out to me—again, like chariots of fire—as I contemplate the timeline of the day’s events and my providential removal from their midst.
But given my husband’s involvement as defense counsel, the case will, of course, remain in my midst, though in a more abstract way, for months to come. And that’s okay, too.