Hazard Pay

I had a bit of an adrenaline rush at work today.
A photographer and I were heading to a story when suddenly, two police cars swerved around a corner and into the road in front of us. We stopped because they were headed our way and veering a bit into our lane of traffic. Then they screeched to a stop in front of a barber shop, and the officers got out, squatted a bit, and drew their weapons.
“Jim, we have got to get this!” I yelled. “Something’s going down!” I expected him to jump out of the car and grab the camera in the back. But instead, he put it in reverse, and yelled, “He’s got a gun!”
My eyes were glued to the cops, and I was thinking, “Well, of course the officers have guns.” I was still saying we needed to get out and roll on it, but Jim slammed on the gas and we started speeding backward up the middle of the street. Thankfully, no cars were behind us. Jim yelled, “There’s no way we’re going to be hostages in this. I’m getting you out of here.”
What I hadn’t seen, was a civilian standing in the street, holding a gun, sweeping the weapon back and forth in our general direction. Jim had started backing the car up when the armed man began walking our way.
Later, when Jim told me this, it all made sense. We even had a laugh. The whole time I’d been wondering why he wouldn’t get out and shoot the incident, he’d been wondering why in the heck I wanted to get out of the car while a man was holding a gun on the street corner. I’m sure glad Jim was paying attention.
As it turned out, the guy with the gun wasn’t the bad guy. Police say someone had just robbed two people outside the barber shop. My guess is, and it’s only a guess, the guy we saw with the gun was going after the robber. The robbery suspect was caught after a chase down the street (and with the help of the K-9 team). The guy we saw with the gun was later talking to police, cooperating, so they obviously didn’t think he was a threat.
I suppose it ended well – the suspect in custody and no one hurt. It sure made for a crazy afternoon though. Jim teased me the rest of the day about being oblivious to the real action and not seeing the guy with the gun. I have a feeling I’ve not heard the last of it.