Note: we are still formatting this chapter for online readability ...

The Rex Barton Story Chapter 21

The Rex Barton Story Chapter 21

Chapter 22

The Gun That Didn't Shoot

Dispatch, unit 7, 10-20 Winchester Canyon 76 for a break.

10-4 unit 7. copy that. How long?

Unit 7, Approximately ten minutes, merci me. Checking out a party near the old oil piers. It looks like tires were burned here at the beach last night.

10-4, unit 7

Dispatch, unit 7, fires are out. Tires filled with sand, warning given. Headed north 101 to El Capitan. 10-20 at railroad crossing park.

Dispatch: Negative unit 7. Return to the 76 Union gas station 10-20. Report of a cream-colored Cadillac, engine running and driver passed out. Reports of vending machine robbery and waitress kidnapping. Possible gun reported by the victim.

10-4 dispatch, en route.

Dispatch: Unit 7 we are sending back-up as soon as I can break into the briefing.

10-4 dispatch. Click, click. (the double clicks were always an acknowledgment or thank you).

After crossing back over the 101 Freeway from the train tracks, I sped up the patrol unit on the side road headed south toward the 76 Union station and the Winchester Inn. In moments, I had arrived at the station and began looking for the cream-colored Cadillac.

There it was, a cream-colored Cadillac, parked next to a big old signpost that read Union 76. I could see the perp slummed over the wheel of the car seemingly passed out. Only a couple of vehicles remained at the restaurant across the parking lot. Surveying the gas station, lot and the restaurant, I saw a waitress running out toward my patrol unit. I drove toward her to avoid a problem waking the sleeping perp up, especially if he had a weapon.

"Thank you for coming so quickly sir, that is the guy over there in that Cadillac. He is a black guy, and he just robbed the vending machines and groped my breast and bottom before leaving. I think he is drunk or high on something. He was even trying to take me hostage or something I guess. He kept grabbing me and twisting my arm and feeling me up. Anyway, he is drunk and has all our money from the machines in a dirty white canvas bag. I think he has a gun in the waste, band of his pants too."

"Ok, thank you. Catch your breath. Go back inside the restaurant and stand by. When I am finished checking this guy out, I will be back to get additional information from you alright"?

"Yes, sir. Be careful though, the waitress said, he has a gun".

"What kind of gun? Can you remember, I asked as I repeatedly kept looking over toward the Cadillac to make sure the perp was still asleep"?

"A small black one. That's all I know".

"Thank you. Hang tight and tell everyone inside the restaurant to stay inside, no matter what. Do you understand,"?

"Yes, I will. Be careful please".

I drove my patrol car up to the back of the Cadillac and parked about three feet away.

Dispatch, unit 7, at the 10-20 now, Cadillac stopped, and I will need back-up. The suspect reportedly has a gun. Alleged robbery and other crimes committed.

Dispatch: 10-4, Unit 7.

Putting my emergency lights on and inching up to the rear bumper of the Cadillac, I gave it a little bump to see if anyone the perp would wake-up.

Within a few seconds and very slowly, I saw a head appear from the driver seat and rise to a sitting position behind the steering wheel. This guy diffidently seemed to be drunk as his head kept leaning forward toward the steering wheel and then back up straight again. After advising dispatch, I got out of my unit and walked toward the Cadillac.

As I was walking forward, I next noticed a dark figure of a balding black man leaning forward with his head and shoulders toward the dashboard of the car. The closer I got to the driver side door, I could tell that this was a middle-aged black guy, approximately 5'5" or 5' 6" and 150 pounds. He was wearing a red and white striped polo shirt and khaki pants. As I reached the front door window, I saw the man continuingly bending down toward the steering wheel, to hold onto it, while using his right hand to reach under the front seat. I told the man to open his window.

"Yea, Yea man hold on I dropped my cigarette. I am going to catch fire. I don't want to burn up in here".

"Roll down the window now Mr. and turn off the car engine." The smell of alcohol emitting from the opening window was staggering. He opened the window about halfway down then stopped.

"Hey, what's a wrong officer? I wasn't speeding, was I"?

"Turn the car off please."

"Yes, sir."

By this time, I was snuggled up to the side of the car, looking at everything I could at one glance. Turning the car off he made another attempt with his right hand under the seat.

"Let me see both hands, sir. Now". My right hand was on my gun, and I was pressed hard up against the driver's door so he couldn't knock me down by opening the door. Nor was I giving him much of a target. "Both hands on the steering wheel now, I yelled."

Instinctively. I knew in my gut that this was a potentially harmful situation and I didn't trust this perp's movements. Having just finished thinking that, I saw the coal-black mussel of a snub nose Detective 38 special coming up fast in his right hand from the floor and coming toward my face.

I knew in a mere fraction of a second that I had no time to draw my weapon or even think about it. I needed to grab this guy's gun, fast. With my left hand moving faster than my thoughts, I was reacting, out of pure instinct and at lightning speed. Not thinking any longer of being shot, or anything else, like ducking or moving to one side, my adrenalin took over and did the rest.

My left hand reached through the half-opened window, and I put my hand over the barrel and hammer jam. At the same time, he was pulling the trigger I was pulling the gun out of his hand. The hammer came down on the fatty part of my skin that separating thumb and forefinger. I fully expected to hear a 38 shot ring out and feel the repercussion and pain of a 38-cal bullet entering my body. Instead, I felt a little pain as the hammer indented itself into the skin of my left hand. I am still here, I thought?

My next move, once I knew I was still alive, was to pull the gun, from the perp's hand, along with his arm, his head, and body through the half-open window. I didn't care what harm came to him at that moment. All I knew was, I was still alive but nearly dead.

He screamed all the way, yelling police brutality and felt undeniable physical pain from exiting his car in such a manner. Once I had him on the outside of the car, I flipped the man around in midair, so he was facing the car door. His right hand was in my left hand, which I was still holding onto the gun.

I removed the gun from his hand with a karate chop across his wrist. The gun's hammer was still stuck in my left hand. Once I cleared the weapon from the perp, I put it into my waist belt and proceed to cuffed the perp. Blood from my hand was dripping on both of us. Damn it, I yelled. You ruined another shirt, as blood spots began appearing all over my chest from swinging the perp around. It wasn't too much longer after that that another police unit drove up with Sergeant Kelly at the wheel.

He did a quick assessment of the situation, then asked me when I was going to allow, the suspect to stand back down on the ground?

"What do you mean sergeant, I just handcuffed him?" 

"Look down, Hawk. I am not sure how you did all that, but we don't want any roughing the passer, do we?"

What the hell do…then I looked down at the ground. Mr. Perp was two feet off of the ground. Somehow, I guess with a lot of adrenalin running through my veins; I was capable of making a lot of strength moves with just one hand.

Lifting a hundred and fifty pounds of dead weight with both of my hands is a strain, but I just did it with one hand. I managed to extricate this guy from his car, through a half-opened window and flip him around in midair, pin him to the car, remove the gun from his hand and mine and then handcuff him with my right hand. Wow, I thought to myself. Wow. Thank, you Lord, the gun didn't go off? God, thank you.

It was time to take a breath myself which I think I forgot to do during the extrication of the perp through the car window and I slowly put the perp's feet on the ground. Half laughing, I turned to Sergeant Kelly and verbally gave my report.

As I was talking, Sergeant Kelly was observing the entire scene more intently. The Cream-colored Cadillac, the black man, a satchel bag of money in the front seat, along with (50) different vending machine keys, a gun in my waistband and my bloody left hand. I told Sergeant Kelly, in about a second and a half how I stopped the perp from shooting me. He was utterly amazed by the entire event and apologized for being late.

Sergeant Kelly had stopped to fill his coffee cup at the briefing room before driving to the scene. After all, it was a good fifteen-minute drive.

I remember hearing a slight laugh emitted from my lips, but I wasn't impressed with his coffee story. Still slightly shaking, I asked if he would get the information for me from the young waitress waiting with about seven or eight other patrons by the front door. He said glad to do it, Hawk. Sgt. Kelly then left to obtain all the witness information while I ever so gently, threw the perp in the back seat of my patrol car, head first.

"Hey man, come on Mr. police-man, give me a break now. I got a couple of thousand dollars in there I can share with you all."

"Ok, let me get this straight before I read you your rights. You robbed a restaurant, and probably a lot of other vending machines. Right? You groped a waitress. Then you tried to escort her out of the restaurant, which I think is closer to kidnapping or hostage-taking. Then you drove drunk, which is a DUI. On top of all that, you then tried to shoot a police officer which is classified as a major felony of attempted murder on a policeman. Now for your final act, you are offering me a bribe? Is that right? What no comment dude?"

Funny how a little hole in your hand can bleed so much. Then another sobering thought entered my mind. I should have and could have been dead right now. Again, I looked up and thanked God, for his Grace that he gives me every day, without me, even asking or thinking about it.

After I finished wrapping my left hand with a handkerchief, I read Mr. Perp his Rights to remain silent. Good old Miranda. You were guilty as hell and got out of jail because some deputy or Ranger did not give you your rights. What about my rights, I thought?

Any of our rights. If someone committed a crime on you or your family, did they ever give you your rights first? You have the right to scream, but if you do, I will kill you. You also have the right to object to me stealing everything you have. But if you do, I will kill you again. If you object to me raping you, too bad, again I will kill you when I am all done.

Sergeant Kelly must have called for another unit for back-up because more Sheriffs units rolled in as did a State Unit with two CHP officers. Wow, I said. Thank you all for coming to our little Miranda party, but you all showed up to late. This perp just asked if he could buy us all drinks though. He doesn't think he will like jail too much.

A few nervous laughs rang out, but the tension was still high. Anytime a gun, or gunfire or any of the above happens, cops get a little pinched face. Rob, the eldest of the CHP clan, asked if he could do anything to help. As it were, I wondered if they would mind searching the rest of the Cadillac for evidence. Not a problem Hawk. Rob was an old neighborhood friend.

Once the car was thoroughly searched and all evidence tagged and packaged, Rob called for a tow truck that came and got the Cadillac and towed it to the county garages for evidence. Meanwhile, I jerked my handcuffed slime ball off the floor of the back seat and strapped him a seat belt.

As I was walking toward the Winchester Inn, Sergeant Kelly and the waitress looked in at the perp just as he was passing out and falling over even with the seat belt firmly in place. The waitress told Sgt. Kelly that we arrested the right man. That's him. That's the guy that was touching me all over and hurting me. He's the guy that was pulling me out of the restaurant.

Thank you for your help, Miss Rogers. Sorry, this had to happen to you, but I don't think you will ever see this guy again.

The Cadillac was towed to the County Yard, while the perp was booked into County Jail, and I got another tetanus shot and a band-aid, for sticking my hand in the way of a pistol hammer.

Until now, I was only slightly aware of what just happened. Recounting the incident for the police report, it slowly occurred to me that I could have been gut shot had it not been for the speed of my hand reaching through the half-open window at the exact location of the gun and hammer. If the perp had moved the weapon by impulse because of my overt move reaching in I would have been dead.

How many more of my lives do I have to offer up before God, gets tired of watching out for me? I had a feeling that my guardian angel, must be pretty tired of stepping into the line of fire and risking getting shot, maced, knifed, and drowned all the times I tethered between life and death. More times than I can count. The reality was, there would be many more times to come.

My story is only just started.


<< BACK  -  NEXT >>