October 15, 2006
Keeping an Eye OutBy Bob Weir
There's one thing about being a cop, especially in a big city: you get to see things other people can't even imagine.
I was working the 4 to midnight tour out of the 105 Precinct in the Rosedale section of Queens. My partner and I were having our first container of coffee (sans doughnuts) when we received a call from the dispatcher about a dispute involving an injury.
We pulled up to the rundown little ranch house on a quiet side street and dumped the hot liquid in the gutter. Having handled many family type disputes, we were used to hearing a violent commotion when we arrived on the scene.
This assignment was different; not a sound could be heard. Figuring we got lucky because the couple may have kissed and made up, we walked slowly up to the front door and knocked.
'Who dat?' came a man's voice from inside.
'The police,' I responded. 'Is everything okay?'
'Just a... just a minute,' came the cautious reply. 'Hold on, I'll be right there,' he added, sounding like he was struggling to get to the front entrance.
A moment later, the door opened slowly and there stood a man with a knife sticking out of his left eye. It took a few seconds just to fathom the grisly situation in front of me.
'I..I opened the door and he.. he stuck me!' the wobbly—legged man said, motioning gingerly with his hands toward the 8—inch appendage that was bobbing slightly, as though it were embedded in bone.
Tiny trails of blood ran down his cheek and hung precipitously from his chin, leaving crimson—colored blotches on a white t—shirt. We took him by the arms and helped him back to a nearby couch before putting a rush on the ambulance. The injured man was unusually calm, given the severity of the injury.
He said the pain was overwhelming at first, but now the area around the eye felt numb. Staring at the ghastly image sent chills down my spine as I thought about the initial pain he endured and the permanent injury he would be left with.
After some questioning he said he had been seeing a woman who, it turned out, had a jealous boyfriend with a knife. He only knew the boyfriend by his street name; something like Bongo or Bango, he wasn't exactly sure. When the medics arrived, they looked as horrified as we were when first confronted with the bizarre—looking situation.
Unwilling to touch the deadly weapon for fear of doing more damage, they made a slit in a padded bandage and slid it over the dagger until it laid against the victim's eye. As careful as they were, they couldn't help touching the sides of the blade ever so slightly. Suddenly, the injured man's voice changed and guttural sounds were launched from his throat like something out of The Exorcist.
'Noooo,' he screamed, pushing the attendants away from him and putting his hands near the injured area. His arms began flailing around wildly as my partner and I grabbed him to keep him from hurting himself.
Ultimately, we had to handcuff his arms behind his back in order to get him into the conveyance, where he was strapped down on a gurney and driven to the emergency room. I accompanied the victim in the ambulance as my partner followed in the patrol car. Every time the vehicle hit a bump in the road the knife swayed slightly and the incoherent sounds of excruciating pain filled the small cubicle.
After we arrived, a doctor was ready with a hypodermic to, mercifully, end the man's torment. The cuffs were removed, but we stayed around for at least an hour to gather information and to learn about the man's condition. He lost the eye, but, we learned later, was released from the hospital after a couple of days.
About a month later, my partner and I responded to a homicide in the street about 3 o'clock in the morning. The victim was lying on a cold sidewalk with a blade protruding from the top of his skull. The coroner said death had been instantaneous because the brain had been punctured. When we identified the deceased and had the body removed to the morgue, we gave the data to the detectives to investigate.
The next day, as I stopped by the detective's office on my way to the locker room, I asked if they had any clues about the murder. 'Nah,' said one of them. 'So far, we only know that the victim's street name was: Blanco.' Soon afterward, the one—eyed killer was arrested.
Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob