First Shooting

By John Wills/Sandy Smetana

How would I respond? Could I handle it? Would I be able to hold myself together while looking at the blood and gore and still be effective as a police officer?

One night I finally got my chance. I responded to a call of shots fired at a new apartment complex on Garth Road, in Baytown, Texas. One person had been wounded. I responded with other officers, and each of us rode in single cars. Back up was usually only two or three minutes away. We arrived, I can’t remember which of us got there first, and found a white male lying in the open doorway of downstairs apartment A. There was a small amount of blood coming from a tiny wound in the victim’s back, near his spine. He was yelling and crying like a baby. Then I saw that he was bleeding from his right hand as well. He told us he had been shot. I looked, but didn’t see anything real bad – just a small amount of blood on his back and the same on his hand. Then I saw he was bleeding on his other hand as well. When the ambulance arrived, the crew found no other wounds and then transported him to the hospital.

We soon learned what happened. Two guys were playing cards in apartment A. The girlfriend of one of the guys slipped out of a bedroom window and went to meet the shooting victim, who lived in apartment B. The two had sex while the woman’s boyfriend was playing cards in the apartment they shared together. It seems the boyfriend and the woman’s lover didn’t like each other. After having sex, the lover decided to take a shower.
The boyfriend and his card-playing friend decided to pick on the lover in apartment B, unaware the girl was in the lover’s apartment. They went to the lover’s apartment and saw that his motorcycle was parked on the patio. They knocked on the door. The girlfriend saw her boyfriend and his partner at the door and panicked. She told her lover that her boyfriend was at the door, and she quickly slipped out the window, never allowing her boyfriend to catch even a glimpse of her.

The woman’s lover grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist. He told the two guys at the door to go away. They yelled at him and refused to leave. Fearing for his life because of past encounters with the woman’s boyfriend, the lover grabbed a gun from a nearby table. The two guys outside knocked over the lover’s motorcycle, which caused Lover Boy to exit his apartment, wearing only a towel and nothing else. He pointed the gun at the two guys, who immediately took off running. Meanwhile, the girlfriend, ran to her own apartment and climbed back through her bedroom window.

When the two guys took off running, Lover Boy, towel around his hips, chased them and began shooting. He shot the boyfriend in the back first, and then in both hands. As you might guess, the shooter’s towel fell off as he was running and firing his weapon. The gun the shooter had, a .22 caliber, explains why the wounds were very small and caused little bleeding.

When the incident was all over, I reflected on my first shooting – a naked man with a gun chasing and shooting another man. Very little blood and no gore. Whew, I made it!