My 7th grade daughter’s school was on lock-down today due to a “police incident.”
Since the school shootings and the Boston Marathon bombing, schoolchildren in Boston routinely have “lock-down drills,” in which they are told to lock the doors, turn out the lights, and get under their desks, but this time it was real.
Half a mile away from my daughter’s school, one man shot another man, and then drove to a street right outside her school, and threw–or forced–two men, bleeding from stab wounds, out of his car.
I was one of the first people to know about it. How did I know so quickly? Easy.
In the five minutes between the first incident when he fled the police after shooting his first victim and the second incident when two bleeding men jumped or were tossed onto the street–he came extremely close to crashing head-on into my car.
It was a typical Wednesday morning, and I was tooling up Harvard Street. I’d done some work, gone to the gym and Whole Foods, and was now going to pick up my mother from her memoir group at 12.
And then a car came hurtling towards me. On the wrong side of the road. My side of the road. Coming right at me.
I slammed on the brakes and blasted my horn. The driver didn’t slow in the slightest. At the last minute, he swerved back into his own lane and passed my car with only inches to spare.
I pulled over and called the police. I didn’t want him to hit and kill any pedestrians, or God help us, the many preschool children walking around town, holding onto a rope.
I got the police dispatcher, and told her what I’d seen. She put me on hold for about five minutes, then she said that the guy I was describing “might be involved in an incident further down Harvard Street.”
I asked if he’d hit a pedestrian, and she said no, so I breathed a sigh of relief. While I been talking to the police dispatcher, four police vehicles had passed me at high rates of speed, going in the direction of the man.
I picked up my mother at 12, and drove home, shaking. Near my house, Harvard Street was blocked off by seven marked and unmarked police vehicles, and an ambulance.There was already a news helicopter in the air overhead.
I finally made my way through the diverted traffic, arrived home, and walked back to the police blockade. The car was not here. The man had fled from a crime scene for the second time.
I described the car—white, with New York license plates—and the driver–mid-20s, light brown skin, maybe Hispanic. I looked out onto the street and saw a red cap, black jacket or sweater, and a white shirt with blood on it.
I went home, and soon after, I received a phone call and an email from the interim School Chancellor who said/wrote:
“Due to police activity in the vicinity of [my child’s and one other]Schools, students at these two schools are being kept inside for the remainder of the day. All students and staff are safe and police are present at both schools. This is a precautionary measure while the police are conducting an investigation.”
I sent my daughter a text, telling her that the bad guy was “long gone,” and she texted back, “Ok. It was so scary everyone is freaking out. I was worried about you guys are you safe????”
I assured her that we were.
Outside the school at the regular pick-up time, my best friend, I, many other parents, a police officer, the principal, the two assistant principals, and the guidance counselor stood and talked about what we knew, which wasn’t much beyond the fact that the three victims had been taken to hospital and that the man had fled. My daughter told me that most of the girls had been sobbing in the locker room, and that they had had to crouch under their desks. I felt so bad for all of them.
I sure didn’t expect anything like this to happen in my very safe town in Massachusetts. Life here is good–very good. Violence and school lock-downs are just not supposed to happen here.
But today they did.