There are some calls that come across the radio which immediately make a cops neck hairs stand on end. This was one of the those. A caller was shrieking into her phone, letting our dispatcher know, in hysteria, that “He is going to kill her!” That was the extent of the information I had as I hit the accelerator and began heading towards the address. My nearest partner was 20 miles away.
My headlights shined down the block as I made the final turn before reaching the address. I flipped my headlights off, threw my squad into park and got out. As I began walking towards the house a female ran out the front door. I recognized the screaming. It was the same sound I could hear in the background as our dispatcher was talking to her one the phone. She ran towards me saying, no screaming, that he was going to kill her or had killed her. Questions swirled in my mind but the broken windows on the house were clear indicators that this lady wasn’t just crazy.
I told her to sit on the curb, next to my squad, and wait until I got back. As I began walking towards the house, my hand took a firm grip on the polymer of my Glock 22. I held it at a low ready while my index finger flicked on the tac light, mounted to the rail just underneath the barrel. The light illuminated the front of the house where I could see large chunks of glass laying on the sidewalk. Before I could walk up the steps to front door; it began to open.
Very slowly, very coolly, a man walked out. He had his hands up, was absent of a shirt, and looked as if several cats had made him their personal scratching post. I secured him in handcuffs and began asking him where his wife was. He told me she was inside but would not tell me anything else. The manner in which he was spoke was cold and distant and didn’t match the tenor of someone usually involved in a scrap. At that point I had very little doubt in my mind he had just done something horrible.
After doing a quick pat down, I walked him to my squad. The Shrieker was still sitting on the curb in a mess of tears and smeared make-up. She began screaming at him, asking him what he had done to her friend. After securing him in my car I started walking back to the house.
As I walked over the broken glass and up the stairs my tac light shown into the house. The hallway was strewn with broken bits of wood that hinted at one unified point in time they were a door. Now they looked more like wooden confetti. The house was dark and silent and wreaked of cheep beer, stale cigarette smoke, and marijuana. My tac light bounced off walls and floors and ceiling as I began clearing each room.
I attempted to pull my imagination back from what I would find and focus on keeping myself in the moment of being safe and processing what I was seeing. After the main floor was clear, I began moving down towards the basement. The rambler style house had stairs near the garage that led downward. As I walked down the stairs and came around the corner I saw that the basement was unfinished. Some walls were up, while others were only studs.
As I moved across the concrete floor slowly and quietly I could see what appeared to be a closed off, small room. It looked like a sauna room. As I opened the door and moved into the small room, my eyes revealed to me what I had been looking for. If you have been in a sauna room before you know that most have two tiers of benches; one low and another high, directly above it. There on the top bench, in the corner of the room, was a woman curled up into the fetal position; crying quietly.
There have been few moments as satisfying as that one, as I assured her that I was there to help her and that she was safe. The job transferred from tactics to talk though as I realized that I had my work cut out for me. She did not want to tell me what happened. She did not want him arrested. As my heart rate slowed down the real work had begun- building the case against a guy that needed to go to jail.