A different kind of face-off

So obviously sports seasons don’t last forever and I have to occupy my time with other things. In reality, the other things take up more of my time than sports do. I know the whole idea of this blog is to explore what it’s like to be on the bench during a hockey game or in the dugout of a baseball game, but it’s also about taking people to a place where they don’t typically get to go. Like a standoff following a shooting. How often do you get to deal with one of those?

The day started and I pretty much went into work thinking I was going to sit down at my desk, eat an avocado, and drink a cup of coffee to start the day. I wandered out into the newsroom and bam. My ideal day was over.

I ran into the photo studio to grab my gear, grabbed an extra camera, a 300 with a teleconverter, and ran out the door. I conveniently forgot my umbrella. As soon as I pushed the back door open it started to pour. Really?

I ran up the three flights of stairs in the parking garage to my (dad’s) car, since mine was in the shop, and drove like a speed demon down to the scene of the shooting — where, as my luck would continue to have it, it again started to pour.

shooting

shooting

shooting

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I stayed for about thirty minutes, waiting to see if something more would happen. When it didn’t, I got back in my car looking like a drowned rat, and drove back to the office. I parked, dumped my take, and quickly put up a photo before editing another four or five to throw into a gallery (some of which aren’t here, but can be found here.

Until editors were running back again, telling me that there was a potential standoff. So the reporter snatched me up as soon as I posted the photos from Rite Aid, and we were again off.

“How do we know when we get there?” And as soon as you turned onto the road you knew. A huge police barricade in the middle of the road, rerouting traffic from both sides, cutting off a good mile and a half stretch of cement.

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It was hard to miss. Most of the experience, once you get there, is to stand around and wait. The “hurry up and wait” slogan I’ve heard from multiple members of the armed forces. You snap photos when people move, and then you stand around waiting for something more to happen. Sometimes it takes thirty minutes, sometimes it takes an hour… Or three.

Regardless, you can’t leave for food or coffee or to use the bathroom, because what if something happens? What if they walk the suspect out in handcuffs? What if they start to shoot? Basically you’re stuck. Rain or shine.

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You can chat with other members of the media, get a little restless, try to find the best spot to take photos. The action, when it happens, will only last a few frames. So you just have to find other moments to look for.

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Oddly enough I knew these two gentlemen in the photo above. We had previously profiled some of the K-9 police on campus, and so I had happened to spend a good deal of time with them.

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Apart from the action, the scenario can actually be pretty dull if you aren’t wearing a uniform and engaging in it. The humor of the day, at least for the media, came at the expense of one elderly gentleman that seemed to have missed the barricade and all of the officers that told him to stop and wandered into the action zone.

__11_051214They weren’t too happy about it.

 

 

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