How I was almost the victim in a drive by

Carlo Medina

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I guess you can never tell these days. The neighborhood I moved into was safe (relatively) a few years ago. Well recently it's been going downhill. Last year we had someone shot on our block, I got home about 1/2 hour after it happened and the other 1/2 of the block was cordoned off with yellow police tape. Then the other block adjacent to us had a shooting about 5 months ago. Now some Hispanic people moved into the rear apartment, and I don't want to generalize and sound racist because I'm not. My roommate and very good friend is Mexican. But these new tenants were obviously gang members' families. There were kids in the apt. but the people who came to visit more and more were very obviously 'of the lifestyle'.
Anyway, today we were coming home and pulled into the garage. There were 4 latinos sitting/standing on the steps leading up to my apt. of which I am one of the front units. They looked at us hard, like they were looking for someone. I looked back, not wanting to seem like I was avoiding them, but also not wanting to look like I was trying to intimidate them in any way. My S.O. simply looked away nonchalantly.
The garage finally opens and we go inside. I park in my spot and do something I never do. I straighten my car out. I don't know why I was concerned about it today because I never have been before. There was also something I heard in my trunk, and I knew it was my umbrella, but I opened my trunk just to check--another thing I never do--and sure enough, it was the umbrella. The final thing is that I had an uneasy feeling about the guys out in front so I motion to my S.O. that we should take the back stairs--another thing we never do.
Well as I'm shutting the trunk, I hear POW! POW! POW! POW! POW!. Five shots, we'll never forget that. We hear running and we hit the concrete. I turn to the front and then to the back stairs, thinking we can make it there. Luckily we do not go towards the stairs as one guy who was out front ran out the back way and tried to hop the wall into the other apt. complex. He turns around and I guess he sees that the shooters had run/driven away and he goes back up the stairs into our apartment.
I moved my girl back into the car and we huddled out of sight in the backseat for about 2 minutes. We try to call 911 on her cell phone (the only use I approve of for the damned things) and it rings like 12 times and no one picks up!!!
By this time I can see out the front garage gate and I see people start walking towards the building. I tell her to sit tight and go out to investigate. The four guys are gone, no one was hit, but there were bullet holes in the railing leading up to my building, and one bullet grazed the wooden front door of the complex not 5 feet from my apartment's front door.
The cops arrived in a minute, we only live about 3 blocks away from a station. They interview everyone and shake down the building. They took two of the guys people ID'd as being in front of the building but couldn't find the other two. They could not hold the two they did find as they were technically "victims" and not "suspects"--but the officer said they kept their IDs on file because today's victims will surely be tomorrow's suspects whenever the retaliation occurs.
We were down at the station looking at mug shots but none looked familiar. The cops were here for about an hour and questioned everyone and their mother. As far as I know the two they had detained were released to god knows where, hopefully not into the back unit of my apt. building but that's where they probably are. Tons of people saw them before and after the shooting, although none really saw the event take place. The cops said that although they got a look at me (and it wasn't the first time, I'd seen these guys congregate at the steps several times before) they said that gangs don't generally go after non-gang members. The cops also said that all the stuff we told them would be 100% confidential. We have several new numbers and business cards on our refrigerator. I won't hesitate to call at the slightest bit of suspicious activity.
Aside from that, nothing much happened today. How are you guys doing?
 

Carlo Medina

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I just realized that I didn't fully explain what I meant by "almost being a victim." If I didn't take the time to do the straightening out & trunk checking, and had decided to go in through the front like I do every other day, chances are I would have been walking by or just passed the guys on the porch when the shooters got there. I don't think they would have distinguished between members and non-members at that point.
 

Jake T

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Me and my future wife were shot at on a major highway 9 years ago because this "high as a kite """ARGENTIAN""(SIC) -p wanted us dead.
What the fuck is up with that?

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Jake T
--"The Things You Do In Life Echo In Eternity"
----Russel Crowe, Gladiator
 

Mark Dubbelboer

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Damn Carlo that is some freaking stuff.
I totally woulda pissed myself if i was in your place
thank god you're alright
 

Carlo Medina

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Mark,
I'd be a damn liar if I didn't say that I was scared. But I am proud of the way we both handled ourselves after we heard the shots. We immediately hugged the asphalt and I put my arm around my SO, I was on the side closer to the entry (hence the shooter(s)) but there was my car in the way anyway, and a concrete wall besides that. When we were sure we could move, I moved us into the car to try and call 911 *what a crock!*
I'm just hoping that the guys in the building, who know who we are by sight and by car, don't do anything violent. The cops say it generally doesn't happen because they know once a civilian is killed, the cops clamp down hard on the members. I guess when they cap each other the cops don't take it as seriously as when innocent bystanders get hurt.
Keeping my fingers crossed.
 

Mark Lee

Second Unit
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Sep 4, 1998
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335
Sooo....what neighborhood should I not be looking at new apartments in???

Good to know you and your S.O. made it through (relatively) unscathed....
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Mark K. Lee
"Life is like a sewer -- what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."
- Tom Lehrer
 

MikeH1

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Its time to move, Carlo
You know better than anybody else your situation there isn't going to get better.
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Jay H

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Ditto what Michael says... And glad that you two are OK!

Any explanation why the 911 call wasn't answered in 12 rings+???
Jay
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Scott Merryfield

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It sounds like you handled the situation well. Having never been in such a situation, I'm not sure how I would have reacted.
As others have said, it's time to look for a new place to live in a safer neighborhood.
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Tom-G

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Holy shit, Carlo! I was quite disturbed thinking about how scared you and your girlfriend must have been while this was going on. I'm very happy that you are ok. I concur with what others have said--you should probably move out of there. These gangs are territorial and they seem to be in your neck of the woods now. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that.
I remember when I had a gun pulled on me and my two friends, how scared I was, but that situation is not even close to what you experienced.
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Frederick

Second Unit
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This reminds me of something that happened to me and my cousin a couple of years back:
We went to visit one of my friends who lived on the West side of Chicago. I've been over there several times on my own, and I was pretty familiar with the people who lived in that area. The day we went to visit, I noticed maybe 5 or 6 people standing on the corner. This isn't too unusal on a summer afternoon, but for some reason it didn't sit well with me. Maybe it was the way people kept coming and going, or the volume of some of the conversations. Whatever the case, I decided to cut our visit short. We had been all outside, sitting on my friends porch; my friend and his siter, my cousin and his little girl. But something about the situation across the street made me very nervous. I told my friend and his sister that it may be a good idea for them to head in, and for us to head home. They told me not to worry about it, and kept talking. But the guys on the corner just didn't "feel" right to me. So again, I suggested that they head in, and told my cousin to grab his daughter and head for the car. My friend told me that I was being paranoid, and to relax. I didn't listen. I said my good-bye's, grabbed the my god-daughter and headed for the car. I remember making sure she was in her car seat, and my cousin in the drivers seat, and grabbing the handle of the passenger side door. That's when all hell broke lose.
None of us were hit. I remember seeing people running out the corner of my eye. That made my friend and his sister run inside of their house. I jumped in the car and heard shots. Maybe 5 or 6. People were running everywhere, and my cousin hit the accelerator. We cleared the block, and parked. I made sure my cousin and his daughter were ok. My heart was racing! I called my friend using my cell phone to make sure he and his sister got in alright. They didn't see anyone outside, walking or otherwise, so I think no one got hit, but I can't be sure. Later we found out that there was an argument about some money, more than likely drug related, and one of the guys in the group puled out a gun and started shooting. Needless to say, we didn't go over there again. I think I may have went over there once more after that, but since then my friend and his family have moved. Amazing how a few seconds can change your life ...
Freddy C.
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Carlo Medina

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We are definitely apartment hunting right now. I'm hoping that we have at least a month or two of quiet because police surveillance on our block should be heavy now, with the regular LAPD and the gangs-unit-specialists now eyeballing our area. I just need a month or two to get all of our finances in a row, and then we are so out of here.
Every 4th of July there is always somebody setting off those big M80's (or whatever they're called) and I used to complain that I often mistook it for a gunshot. After yesterday, there will be no more mistaking. There is marked difference in timber and volume between the shots we heard yesterday and even the loudest firecracker I've ever heard.
I'm cycling between fear, thankfulness for being alive, anger & resentment, and then all over again. Repeat until hair is gray.
 

KyleS

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I feel for you Carlo and am glad that you were all ok. As stated above it is time to MOVE. Dont wait as it could mean your life or worse your wife/childs lives.
As to why the 911 call wasnt answered is that the system was over loaded with people using 911 for non-emergency calls. It got so bad in Las Vegas that they finally intoduced a new non-emergency help line. It is so screwed up that people call 911 for NON life threatening emergencies then when people such as yourself Carlo who needed to get ahold of them couldnt. I have heard so many calls where people call 911 just to ask for the time of day or directions.
KyleS
 

Ryan Wright

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It is so screwed up that people call 911 for NON life threatening emergencies
Don't be mad at the people. Calling 911 is the only way to get an officer dispatched. I got up one morning (many years ago) to find some antennas stolen from my car, so I called the local police department to file a report. They told me they couldn't dispatch an officer to take the report and that I would have to call 911. On other non-life threatening occasions when I've needed an officer, I've also had to call 911.
Now, calling 911 to ask for directions or the time of day is ridiculous. Those people should be arrested.
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Joel Mack

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Move to Nebraska.. nothing ever happens there
Unless you consider the every-other-year ass-whipping of the Mizzou Tigers by the Huskers a crime...

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AdrianJ

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Calling 911 is the only way to get an officer dispatched.
This must depend on where you live. When I was hit by another driver, I was told by the 911 people to call the local police to get an officer dispatch. Also, there can be great confusion when calling 911 on a cell phone because it doesn't always get routed to the right police department.
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Adrian Jones
 

Inspector Hammer!

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Jesus! Glad to hear you and your girl are fine Carlo!
Isn't it fucking sad that with all the stuff that's happened in the past two weeks, their are still these gang scumbags that are still fighting over the dumbest shit, I mean we should be coming together as a nation, but these punks have no idea what the hell is going on. All they care about is money, drugs, violence, and killing. Sad. Get out of their fast dude.
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Jason Merrick

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Carlo Medina wrote: I moved us into the car to try and call 911 *what a crock!*[/quote]Jay H wrote: Any explanation why the 911 call wasn't answered in 12 rings+???[/quote]KyleS wrote: As to why the 911 call wasnt answered is that the system was over loaded with people using 911 for non-emergency calls. I have heard so many calls where people call 911 just to ask for the time of day or directions.[/quote]First thing off, Carlo, I am very thankful to hear you are both physically okay... although I am sure emotionally, there are some scars that will take a long time to heal.
Let me start by saying I am a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Since you were calling from a cellphone, your call was ringing at CHP's dispatch center, which depending on time of day (rush hour, non-rush hour) can be severely overloaded. Although not necessarily by non-emergency calls, their biggest problem is call duplication - 30-50 people or more calling to report each and every accident on a freeway multiplied by 10, 15, 20 accidents unfortunately equals long wait times for calls to be answered.
However, Kyle's point also remains - the great majority of people who call 911 are not calling about life & death emergencies. I have heard the statistic at LAPD that on Friday & Saturday nights as much as 75% of 911 calls are to report noise disturbances. This creates gridlock on the system, and many people who such as you, are reporting shootings, robberies, medical emergencies, are having to listen to the phone ring while 20 people ahead of them are being transferred to non-emergency lines to report a loud party.
LAPD introduced a non-emergency toll-free # last year to try and alleviate this problem, but I am not sure how well it has worked... 1-877-ASK-LAPD is not as simple as 911 to dial, and many people just dial 911 because they know they will get transferred and it's easier. There is talk of implementing a 311 service which I think would really be the only workable solution that will actually make a difference on 911.Ryan Wright wrote: Don't be mad at the people. Calling 911 is the only way to get an officer dispatched.[/quote]While this may be true in tri-cities Washington (although I doubt it!), it is completely untrue for LA. Every police department has non-emergency phone #s - find them and write them down, or call 411 instead of 911 and ask for the non-emergency police # in your area. Regardless of what the officer who answered the phone at the police stations says, I am 99.9% positive there is an alternative # to 911 that would get you through to a dispatcher to have a unit sent out.
I'm sorry for ranting if I did, but please keep this in mind the next time you call 911 for a non-emergency... someone else's loved one may have just stopped breathing, or has just been shot, or their baby is choking, and because they dialed 911 a split-second after you did, has to listen to the phone ring while you explain your non life-threatening situation to the dispatcher.
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[Edited last by Jason Merrick on September 27, 2001 at 05:51 PM]
 

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