Three o’clock and the evening shift had just begun; I was already exhausted. I was having trouble adjusting to the monthly shift changes and was unable to get any rest. Who in the world came up with such an idiotic system sure beats me. Last month day shift, this month evening shift, and next month midnight shift, pleassssee!
I buckled into my police interceptor and punched the accelerator to the floor. The powerful 427 Chevrolet leaped like a hungry panther after prey. I loved driving the best and fastest cars owned by the Virginia Beach Police force. That is the main reason I transferred to the Traffic Bureau; to be able to ride the rockets that were used to overtake speeding and reckless drivers.
Oooh, the thrill of the ride, for a moment I forgot my fatigue and just held onto the steering wheel while I reached G-force…well, it kinda felt like mack one to me. How many twenty two year old kids could experience this kind of speed without taking a chance of getting caught and going to jail? Gotta love that badge!
Coming back down to earth, I heard a call come in, code 9. Code 9 means, officer in distress. The dispatcher gave the address of the officer’s location and I gunned my beast, pushing it to the max.
I arrived on the scene in a nanosecond. Officer Gurbers cruiser was parked in front of the address given, with no one in sight. I called for clarification of the code 9 and the dispatcher said the officer was pinned in the house by a suspect with a knife. Huh…how can a police officer with a gun be pinned in a house by someone with a knife?
“Uh…dispatcher, did you say, a knife?”
“10-4, a knife. Officer Gurber said the complainants’ husband had pulled a knife on him and then left the house. The officer called this in on the complainants phone, he is afraid to come outside.”
Just as I was about to laugh, the complainants husband strolled by my interceptor and went to the hood of Officer Gurbers cruiser where he produced a high powered rifle from under his coat and pointed it at the complainants house.
I got out of my car and began to talk to the distraught man. I asked him to put the gun down and let’s talk about what was bothering him. With a swift move, he turned the gun in my direction and said he would shoot me if I took another step. I froze in my tracks.
“Sir, you don’t want to do this. So far, you haven’t done anything too bad that it can’t be taken care of. If you will let me I will get back in my car and leave.”
“Go ahead and get out of here,” he said.
Slowly, I backed up and got into my car, and then slipped out the passenger side and put the high performance engine between me and that 30-30 hunting rifle. My mind was rushing with fear and confusion. Where did the riffle come into the picture?
I called for more backup and was contemplating how to get this man to lay down his weapon when a school bus came down the street and opened the door to let out children just 20 yards from this situation.
Panic began to overtake me for fear of the children getting hurt. I walked into the street with my pistol drawn and tried to motion the bus driver to not let the children off and to back out of there. The children saw me and re-boarded the bus. The bus driver just sat there staring at me, with the blood drained from her face.
I knew I had to take this man out before it was too late, but how could I do this in front of a bus full of grade school children? How could I kill a man for any reason?
I began to speak with an authority and a tone that must have come from God, because I was unable to act on my own behalf.
I can’t remember all that I said, but the man put the gun down on the hood of the cruiser and put his hands in the air. I had been moving towards him the entire time I was talking and only had a few feet to go before I took him into custody.
The amazing thing is that he and I were very calm at this point. I gently cuffed him and took a long hunting knife from his belt. The rifle was full of ammunition and cocked and ready to fire when I ejected all the shells.
At this time, the school bus driver backed out of the scene and officer Gurber finally came out of the house looking kinda ashen. I instructed him to get in his car, go back to the station, and resign. He did just that.
We had so few officers back then, that no other help came before I left the scene with the suspect. On the way in the man asked me to forgive him for his actions. He said his wife had pushed him to the breaking point and all he wanted to do was kill her and then himself. He said he would have shot me but just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger hard enough to fire the gun. Whatever I said brought him back to reality and a calm came over him.
Death was so close, for me, the husband, and his wife, the children, but words spoken from my mouth, yet not of me, brought calm and a way out where there seemed no way.
That was in 1965, before I answered the call to come back to Jesus Christ. I was saved at 12 years of age, but went headlong into the world as a teen and young adult. God had a plan for my life and it didn’t include dying at the hands of a distraught husband. Surely, He spoke through me that day; words that I couldn’t speak. Words I didn’t know.
I tremble at the awesomeness of a God who can use you even when you are living in rebellion. His hand has been on me even before I was conceived in my mother’s womb. Today, I preach His word. Today, I am His servant and His hand is still on me.
It's been too long, Lucian...glad to see you back. God's fingerprints smother out life, don't they??? Amazing that we resist Him as long as we do....or fail to see His presence.
Thanks for this awesome reminder that 'He will never leave us, or forsake us.'
Welcome back, Lucian! And what a comeback! This was a powerful piece and kept me on the edge of my seat. You should consider submitting to a magazing - perhaps Guideposts - what a wonderful testimony of God's hand on your life. Praise God for this awesome miracle. Thanks for sharing it. Since you've reappeared, I expect to see many more articles and cop stories from you, mister!
Love & hugs to you and Trish!