November 29, 2008
A million stories in the naked cityBy Bob Weir
My partner and I were working plainclothes duty as we drove toward a suspected drug supply house in Queens. A cry for help changed our direction as I made a right turn toward the scream.
We were shocked to see a naked woman in her late 20's running along the street and screaming for help. As we jumped out of the car to approach her, she ran toward us and grabbed my partner in a bear hug.
"Are you the police?" she cried hysterically.
"Yes, ma'am" my partner replied, taking her by the shoulders and holding her at arms length as both of us tried to adjust to the incongruity of the situation.
"What happened?" I asked, wishing I had a jacket or something to cover her while we inquired.
"My husband!" she screamed. "He's killing him! Please help him!"
We put her in the rear seat of the sedan and drove about 2 blocks to the house whence she came. It was difficult to understand exactly what we were about to face, because she continued to murmur incoherently. When we pulled up to the location, she refused to leave the car.
"No!" she yelled. "I'm not goin' back in there. He's gone crazy.....he's killing him."
We ran to the entrance of the one-story home, and, noticing the door was wide open, drew our weapons and took positions on each side. We could hear the faint voice of a man pleading with someone.
"Don't kill me, please," the man was repeating between the anguished sounds of inflicted pain.
Moving toward the voice, we made our way into the kitchen, where we came upon a man with a large bloody knife, standing over a naked man on his knees. There were splashes of red liquid dotting the surrounding area and the victim had several open wounds from his face to his midsection. His hands were crisscrossed with slash marks as he tried to ward off more thrusts from his attacker. With each stabbing attempt, he would grab the blade, only to have his tormenter pull it back violently, tearing deeper into the palms and fingers of his cowering victim.
"Police, drop the knife!" I ordered, as we aimed our weapons at the middle of his chest.
Appearing unmoved by our presence, the man's rage-filled eyes moved slowly from his quivering prey to the 2 revolvers, only a few feet away.
"I caught him with my wife!" he snarled, making another jab with the 8-inch carving knife.
His terrified hostage sustained another wound as he tried to ward off the blow.
"He was supposed to be my friend!" the attacker hissed through clenched teeth. "I caught them in my bed! He was coming over here when I left for work!" he said, twisting his face to an ugly scowl.
With each acid-laced utterance he did a little more damage to the alleged lothario who continued begging for his life, unwilling to turn toward us for fear of a fatal wound from his antagonist.
As we grasped a situation the woman had not prepared us for, we realized it was not a typical felonious assault by an intruder. The victim, although covered in blood, didn't appear to have any life-threatening wounds. Yet, that could change in seconds if the knife wielder wanted him dead.
"Okay, you punished him enough," I said, trying to cajole the outraged husband into giving it up. "I feel sorry for what happened, but I can't let you cut him anymore," I added, cocking my weapon and moving closer.
He looked down at the object of his hatred and raised the dripping dagger again.
"Don't!" I warned, beginning to squeeze the trigger. "If you make me kill you, he wins," I said, trying some street psychology.
"As a husband, I can understand how you feel, but as a cop, I swear I'll shoot you if I have to.
He stared at my eyes for a few seconds before tossing the knife in the sink.
The victim was transported to a hospital and the attacker was arrested. When we put him in a holding cell in our office, the other detectives, who had been listening to the radio transmissions, asked if he was the guy who caught his friend in bed with his wife.
When we told them he was, they broke out in a round of applause.
"Way to go, my man!" one of them said.
"Can I get you something to drink?" said another.
Yeah, I know; cops can be very cynical.
Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.