Tag: cops

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Barricaded Gunman in University Heights

A few hours ago, while my wife shopped at Aldi, a helicopter started circling above the area where were two drug deaths last week. I could hear commands from a loudspeaker instructing someone to put down the gun and come outside. That couldn’t be good.

After she returned, Annie and I walked over to that part of the neighborhood, where we met massive police presence. Louisiana was blocked at Meade along with the perpendicular alleys parallel to El Cajon Blvd; at Mississippi and Texas.

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The Incident in University Heights

When working with other journalists, I always advise: “Write what you know to be true”—or, lifting Star Trek lingo, obey the “Prime Directive“. That brief introduction frames what follows based on what I directly heard, observed, and photographed.

Our story starts some minutes around 11 a.m. PDT today, when emergency vehicles roar down the street where we live and others nearby. A police helicopter begins circling overhead, announcing search for a suspect, with his description, and instruction to call 911 if seen. I look out my window, to see police officers standing over someone handcuffed and facedown on the pavement—the Featured Image, captured at 11:06 a.m. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; all photos aperture manually set, from Leica Q2. Interesting aside: The takedown happens where once stood the block’s majestic palm tree, before being cut down nearly four weeks ago.

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Feel Free to Flee, Bud

Raging riots—er, protests—across the country shine spotlights on law enforcement, following release of citizen-captured video showing the death of George Floyd under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. A lifetime—oh, yeah, just eight days—has passed since the incident that precipitated looting, property destruction, and violence in major cities across America, including San Diego.

Is surveilling cops the new thing, in the wake of the alleged MPLS murder and its aftermath? I wonder. Today, as I walked through the alley separating Campus and North, flashing cop car lights along Monroe near Park caught my attention. Approaching, I saw some dude apparently filming what looked like an insignificant incident—something to do with a car that would later be towed. His iPhone pointed at one of the two “Protect and Serve” vehicles. I circled and captured four shots of him, using Leica Q2, from two different vantage points. Apparently, he saw me take the last photo, pulled back the smartphone, and walked off fairly fast—to the corner, around it, and away.

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The Incident on Cleveland Avenue

The overflowing mailboxes outside the US Post Office in Hillcrest seemed afternoon walk-reward enough until I came upon the ruckus along Cleveland Ave. between Tyler and Van Buren, which are in University Heights. As I approached from Washington Street, my eyes couldn’t reconcile a black mass moving amoeba-like on the sidewalk nearly two blocks ahead. Closing in, a line of parked cop cars hinted to what could only be a rather large number of San Diego police officers.

Residents looked on from the sidewalk, apartment stairs, and balconies at the commotion. As one gent exited his building, I ask if he knew what happened. “A murder”, he said, “in one of the apartments”. He pointed up the street. Yikes! But further along, I observed a policeman talking to another neighbor. I asked him the same question. Someone attacked one of the officers. Possibly a homeless person, he speculated.

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Finally! A Good Use for the Shopping Mall’s Vacant Anchor Store

Today’s Westfield Mission Valley visit offered up something even more surprising than seeing our first FlixBus. My wife suggested walking around the perimeter of the empty store where once was Macy’s—so we could be more in shade than sun. But turning from the parking lot side back towards the mall proper, we encountered police tape blocking off the area in shadows. Then we came upon the sign that is the Featured Image.

Think of all that empty square-footage an anchor department store leaves behind for SWAT to do God knows what—and he ain’t telling me—to prepare for incidents involving terrorists, Twitter rumormongers, or Trump-haters (of which there are too many in San Diego). Perhaps the police practiced hostage negotiation and rescue tactics. But all seemed quiet when Anne and I meandered by.