Waiting for Dorner
When the names of your colleagues at the LAPD are on the manifesto of a double-murder suspect still at large.
February 19, 2013 - 12:09 am
Then you learn that the guy you’re looking for is driving a gray Nissan Titan pickup truck, which you Google on your cell phone so you know what the damn thing looks like, and the truth is that it looks pretty much like a lot of pickup trucks. And later on you learn that the guy shot at two LAPD cops out in Corona, which is even farther from L.A. than where you are. Those cops were out there doing the same thing you’re doing, which is guarding someone on the killer’s list. And you’re happy when you hear that even though their black-and-white got thrashed with rifle rounds, the cops themselves weren’t badly hurt.
But then a little later you learn that out in Riverside, which is near Corona, two cops were ambushed while sitting at a traffic light, and one of those cops was killed and the other one may not make it either. And they tell you they don’t know where the killer went. And now, if you weren’t nervous before, you are now. And you check your guns and your ammunition and you go back over your plan for the fifth or sixth or tenth time with the rest of your team.
Then you hear that the killer may have been seen near the airport, which is pretty far from where you are, but then it’s pretty far from Riverside, too, and at that time of the early morning there’s nowhere in Southern California you can’t get to pretty quickly by freeway.
And then comes the “officer-needs-help” call from some Hollywood Division cops who are guarding someone in Torrance. A pickup truck was coming down the street with its lights off, right toward the house being guarded. And you think, great, maybe they got him, maybe we can all go home now. But then, terrible news: they shot up two women delivering newspapers. And you think, thank God it was them and not me, because you’ve had your front sight on quite a few cars since this whole thing started.
When you go home, you tell your wife what’s been going on, and she asks you lots of questions that you can’t answer because, well, how can you explain all of this? And you tell her not to worry because you’re not on the killer’s list and as far as you know you’ve never even seen the guy. And she says she’s not worried and you say you’re not worried, but you know she is and she knows you are. And a little later you’re sitting alone in your kitchen when a shadow comes across a window, and you think, what the hell was that? Then you realize it was just the wind blowing a tree branch, but you don’t tell your wife how scared you just were until she tells you that while you were at work the dog started barking at something or someone out in the yard, and she thought she might have heard the side gate to the house opening but when she looked out the window there was no one there. But what was the dog barking at?
The next day you go back to work and your protection detail, and you hear they’ve found the killer’s truck up near Big Bear — which is a long way from where you are — and they’re searching for him now, so far without success. And you think, why would he set his truck on fire if he didn’t want to draw attention to it? So you think he had another car stashed up in the mountains, and he’s still out there on the loose but now no one knows what he’s driving, so from now on every car that comes down the street is a potential threat. And by now all of the neighbors know why you’re there, and some of them stop and talk to you and tell you that you can use their bathroom if you need to, and some of them even bring you food, which makes you feel a little guilty, because last night you had a gun pointed at their car when they came down the street and pulled into their driveway. But you don’t tell them about that.