TITLE: The Officer and the Hobo
By lynn gipson
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The Officer and the Hobo
Officer Joe Lowry cruised down Peabody Street with his eyes pealed for the homeless man he had come to know at JT. Actually, his first name was Jesus, pronounced “heysoose,” but the big Hispanic man told everyone to call him JT. Joe had seen him on this very street every night he had worked for the past year. Officer Joe had become a friend to him and often stopped to ask if he needed anything, sometimes giving him a dollar or two to get a hamburger. This was a very cold night, the temperature down to the teens, and the officer told himself he wanted to talk JT into going into a shelter for the night.
The truth was, JT was a Christian, and the officer needed to talk to him tonight. Joe was a Christian also, or he tried very hard to be. Lately, however, he had begun doubting God. It was sometimes hard to be a police officer and keep your spiritual beliefs at the same time. He just saw so much of the ugly side of life. Cruelty and immorality had darkened his soul to the point of not believing in his fellow men. He and JT had a few discussions about God in the past year, maybe the homeless man could save him.
The streets were deserted tonight, as they usually were with the freezing temperatures. JT wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Maybe he went to a shelter, thought the officer.
The calls had been slow tonight, but all at once his radio started going off.
“Request backup! 9689 Peabody! Officer down! Officer down!”
Joe flipped his siren on and put the pedal to the metal towards the address given with a catch in his throat. This rarely happened in his precinct. His ward was pretty mild compared to others in Memphis. Two blocks from the scene he could see blue lights blazing all over the place. There were at least six other cruisers there when he pulled up.
Carefully, Lowry got out of his car and from the distance he could see Tim, his friend and fellow officer on the ground, and then heard more shots being fired. They were coming from the right of where the fallen officer lay. He knelt on the ground shielding himself with his car door with his gun ready to fire.
“What in the world is going on?” he said to himself.
Then he saw another officer go down. He didn’t know this one, must be from another ward, he thought. A bullet whizzed by his car. He crawled back into his car and radioed for more back up.
“Another officer down! Get those ambulances here, now!”
Joe didn’t know it was too late, both of the fallen officers were dead.
Then all was quiet, eerily quiet. No one moved for what seemed like minutes. Then someone moved to the right of his car and Lowry came within a split second of firing on them.. It was JT.
“Hey, officer Joe,“ JT said, someone’s chootin’ atcha!
“I know that JT, what are you doing here? Get out of here before you get killed!”
“I gonna help, gotta help you”. Said JT
“You can’t help JT, just go! Now!”
JT refused to leave, and hiding behind the rear of the car, he started praying.
“Jesus, somtin’ bad gonna happen, save my frien’ pleez. Bad man, very bad man comin‘!”
At that very moment Officer Lowry felt the bullet sting his arm, knocking him back against the car door. The shooter headed toward officer Joe’s car and fired again, this time hitting JT. JT charged the gunman like a bull, knocked his gun out of his hand, grabbed the gun, and fired. The gunman died instantly.
JT then fell to the ground, calling his Savior‘s name. Officer Lowry managed to get to him before he died.
“You saved my life, JT!” Lowry said.
“I dint save you.” said JT, “Jesus did.” Those were last words JT ever spoke.
Joe sat on the ground with tears rolling down his face, and he realized with this tragic event his faith in God and his fellow man had been restored. A man had just given his own life in order to save him. A homeless man named Jesus.
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