Shots rang out in the starless night. Two, three. Officer Stanley radioed for back-up as he splashed along the wet pavement. When he got closer to the house, he heard yelling and swearing.
“Rusty” pulled his weapon. As he came across the front part of the structure, he carefully looked through the window. Inside, a young man was waving a gun at a crying woman. He didn’t see anyone else.
He knew he didn’t have time to wait for help. Facing the front door with his weapon drawn, Rusty yelled “Police” and kicked his way into the living room. “Drop your gun right now. Don’t force me to shoot.”
Brandon initially froze. Then he grabbed his wife around the neck.
“Don’t come any closer.”
“Ok. I’m not moving. But put down the gun and let’s talk.”
“I’m not talking to you about anything. I’m the one in charge and it’s you who needs to drop YOUR gun - right now.”
Rusty thought fast. Back-up should be here any minute, but he had to stop things before someone got hurt. He prayed silently to God for safety and wisdom to talk this man out of his rage.
“Well, there is one problem. I’m not allowed to drop my weapon if you have a hostage. It’s against the rules. So if you want me to give up my gun, you’re going to have to let the girl go.”
“Please do what he says Bran. Let me go. Don’t do anything you’ll regret. We can work things out I know we can. Just do as he says, please.
He thought a moment before pushing her toward the door. “Get out Jessie and tell any cops that show up that one of their pals is my hostage.”
Jessie looked at Rusty with tears in her eyes and stumbled outside just as two squad cars pulled up with lights flashing.
Rusty closed the door with his boot. “Okay. Here’s my gun. Let’s talk. But, my buddies outside won’t wait long no matter what you threaten to do to me.”
“Shut up and sit down on the couch. You probably think you’re some kind of hero. Right? Big man at the station if you bring in the gun-crazed kid, dead or alive? Well you’re not going to take me in.”
Rusty saw his trembling lips and tight jaw, but his hand was steady on the gun. He started to speak then changed his mind. He shut his eyes instead and bowed his head.
“What are you doing? Praying? You think God is going to help you? What a laugh. You should be begging ME for your life.”
“I wasn’t praying for me, Bran. I was praying for you. You see, my life is secured for eternity. I’m going to live forever with Christ when I die …
… Is Jessie your wife?”
He barely nodded.
“Then you have something to live for. Nothing can be so bad that you need to kill someone about. What ever it is, I can help. I don’t want you to die Bran. Not before you have a chance to know how much God loves you. Please give up your weapon and I’ll see to it that things go easy for you. I want to be your friend.”
“You can’t help me. I’ve been out of work for two months and now Jessie’s pregnant. The car was repossessed and the landlord is foreclosing. I just want to die. “
“And leave Jessie to raise your child all alone? She loves you and needs you, and your baby needs you. There are other jobs. It might be rough for a while but with God, all things are possible.”
Brandon didn’t really understand what Rusty was saying, but something inside of him made him trust his words. Maybe it could be better. He was going to be a father after all.
He finally reached out and gave the gun to Rusty who handcuffed him and led him outside. Brandon served time in jail until his arraignment and then, with Rusty’s testimony on his behalf, he was released on his own recognizance for one year.
Rusty meant what he had said. He stayed in touch, invited them to his church, and then ten months later at the baptism, became their son’s godfather.
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