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The Rex Barton Story Chapter 7

The Rex Barton Story Chapter 7: Shots Fired

Chapter 7

Shots Fired

I was home one early evening about a month after Jenny's incident with the two perps who assailed her — just playing with the kids when I heard a couple of honks on a car horn. Weird, I thought. Must be one of the guys needing something. Drive-by checks were on the menu daily after Jenny's, near-death experience in the car last month. The bruises still fresh on her neck, Jenny was in the kitchen making some dinner so I shouted to her that I would be right back. Ok! I opened the door to a hail of bullets. One bullet lodged itself above the door frame a couple of inches from my head.

A third and fourth-round landed even higher up above the door and lodged itself into the stucco house siding. A third shot went up a little more and to the right. I realized that we were under siege and under attack. My first reaction was to duck down inside my entry and slam and lock the front door.

I yelled at Jenny to get down, and I did a fast crawled to the bedroom to get my service revolver. After the last bullet hit the door, I heard screeching of tires in the street out front. By the time I got my 357 Magnum service, revolver and got back to the door, I could tell from the window net to the door that the car and shooter(s) were gone.

Opening the door, I turned off the front porch light and knelt on one knee to make myself a smaller target if someone were still out there. No cars, no people other than a neighbor across the street. The neighbor yelled across to me if I was alright.

"Hawk are you guys alright? Did I hear shots?

"You were right on that. Too early for Halloween but someone didn't like last year's batch of cookies I guess"?

No one laughed, but I told the neighbor to get back to his house.

"Call 911 will you Jim, while I look around".

"You got it, Hawk."

Jim thought it was the greatest thing to be living across the street from a cop. This neighborhood will be safe, he thought.

Might think about that a little longer Jim. I check the immediate area and then surveyed the damages to our home. I kept the front door open and asked Jenny if everything was alright. Ok, I heard faintly between sobs. I knew Jenny had enough close calls.

"Deputies on the way honey. Everything is ok. Stupid statement after nearly getting killed minutes ago, but I didn't have a better response for now."

No answer from Jenny but I heard her in kid's bedroom sobbing and little Janie asking "Why you crying, Momma?"

It was one of those times when taking your work home is not a good idea. Extracurricular activity on the home front battling the crime elements is never a good thing when played out on your home and family. I heard another car roll up and looked out the living room window. It was a patrol car.

Going around to the front door, I did a quick survey of the living room and entry hallway for damage. They were clear. The only damage was three bullet holes in the door and the stucco wall above the door. Roy got out of the patrol car and approached me with a clipboard in his hand.

"Well Hawk, you sure have a way of single-handedly screwing up my coffee break. What's going on? Not enough action on patrol, so you got to make up for it on your time off? What the hell, man?"

I was reminded of a time back in my senior year when I got home after school only to be called out by one of my peers. I say peers generously because Bill was a jerk. He and about thirty other classmates, including Bill's older brother drove by my parents' home to bring evil tidings.

It seems that I had stolen Bill's girlfriend and he was not too happy about it. I hadn't taken anything, and Carol left Bill because of gang-like attitudes and drunken behavior. I went outside and met Bill in the street. He challenged me to a fight, and I was gladly ready to punch his lights out.

He pulled a gun from his waistband and gave it to his brother to hold.

"You are a stupid idiot. Haven't you had enough trouble lately, I asked him? I beat the hell out of you at school, with and without the gloves on. Why are you willing to get your ass kicked again?"

Shut up were his last words as he charged me. I moved to one side and pushed him on passed the way his head was going. He stumbled to the ground as the shouts of "Get back up Bill!" and "Kick his ass" rang out from the circle of kids around us.

His brother was holding onto Bill's gun and waving it around in the air shouting come on Bill get up and kick his ass. Bill got up and was trying to circle me with his fists up at the ready. At that moment, I heard my mother's voice yelling at the crowd to leave now.

Everyone was straining to look up toward my mother's voice, including Bill. I took a moment and smacked him in the face somewhere between the eyes. He went down like a lump of coal more like a dirt clod.

After that smackdown, I noticed the crowd. Then I saw why they were backing up. Embarrassment began to cloud over my face. I saw my mother waving a broom around actually trying to hit a couple of the kids standing closest to her.

"Mom!" I yelled, "Stop! I have this under control." 

"Sure, you do get back in the house now!"

She proceeded to whack a few kids, and for some reason, they put up with it in a laughing manner but started to get back into their cars. Someone picked Bill up off of the ground and put him in the back seat of his brother's car. When they all left, I was utterly humiliated but kind of glad that mom took some interest in me even if it was terrible.

She came back into the house, shaking and talking with the broom still in her hands and waving it around the carpeted floor. Slightly scared she sat down at the dining room table and shacking asked what was going on. I told her about Bill and his old girlfriend that I was now dating. Her only response was;

"You are not to see her again. Do you understand?"

"No. You know I knocked Bill out, right"?

"Good for you but you are not to see Whatcha-ma call it again. Stay out of trouble, please. Graduation is in a couple of weeks".

"Never been in trouble, mom, don't worry."

I would say she was just a little scared and stressed out at the moment. I knew that this problem was not over and that probably tomorrow I would be confronted again by Bill, and sure enough, he didn't let me down. After our graduation exercise, Carol and I were walking hand in hand out of the auditorium and Bill came up behind us and told Carol that she was his and I was going to die.

Carol began to cry, and I yelled at Bill to stop. He whirled and came back toward me. I noticed that both of his eyes blackened from yesterday's round. His hands were balled into fists as he charged toward me. Fortunately, when he was close enough, I hit him first along the side of the head, which stunned him and stopped him in his place. Then I hit him again once on the side of his chin. He reeled backward and hit the outside wall of another building.

A crowd of kids quickly assembled and circled the two of us. Very few people had ever seen me fight anyone other than in Gym Class Boxing. Maybe one additional time on a basketball court when the opposition team tried to purposely trip me which could have caused significant knee or ankle damage. The chanting turned into a cheering session. Because Bill was still standing against the wall, I hit him again and once more for luck.

I was sick and tired of this jerk interfering in my business and life. He was bleeding from his nose and mouth but still upright when I cocked my fist for one last assault and was intent on pile driving my arm forward and land a solid punch to his cheek. Bill went down to the ground.

The only problem was it was not Bill's cheek that I crushed. It was our history teacher who stepped in the break up the fight. Ooops. I bent down to pick Mr. Mizar up off the ground. He was dazed, semi-conscious. I left Bill on the ground where he fell but lifted Mr. Mizar to his feet. I am so sorry, sir, I exclaimed. I didn't see you. My guidance counselor came running over to help and was appalled at the ruckus.

"Hawk, go to my office now. Bill was slowly getting himself up off of the ground and was told to get off of the campus. Do not come back here, Bill. You are not graduating. Go home and don't come back."

The school had had enough of Bill and knew of the incident the day before at my house. Mr. Shawn, my guidance counselor, was shocked at my fighting, which I had never shown aggression before. He had heard from my coaches that I was pretty good with the gloves. He warned me to stay out of trouble until after graduation, or else. I did that and graduated three days later from high school.

Years later as a Deputy Sheriff, while working at the Honor Farm, Bill was arrested for being drunk in public and battery upon a woman. It was unfortunate, but Bill never learned to stay out of trouble. Alcohol, drugs, and just one too many bad habits landed him in jail for most of his life. He was a man now with a wet brain. I barely recognized him.

White drawn face, scarred skinny and ragged from the years of drinking. He wouldn't last much longer. Within another year, after his release, I read where he had died of alcoholism. His brother proceeded Bill in death a few years later. The entire family was an alcoholic. Bill had little chance of a normal life. From his parents forward, all he ever knew was an addiction, fighting, loosing, and finally, death. They were drunks and proud of it.

Roy, then looked up at the front door behind me.

"Wow. I heard that there were shots fired, but I didn't realize it was this close to you. Sorry Hawk, had dispatch said something I would have been here faster. What the hell happened"?

I related the incident and told Roy I had no idea who or what the car was, or how many people were in the car. All I know is this is the second incident against my family, and I am getting a little tired of it.

"Hawk, you need to check in with the detectives and find out if they have any information. They might have a couple of leads for you".

"Yeah, I will look into it. Who is on the desk tonight, Lieutenant. Numb-nuts I asked"?

Laughing, Roy uttered, "Yes."

"Figures why you weren't told anything. See you tomorrow, Roy."

"Yeah, ok Hawk, you take care. Anything more holler. I will be around all night."

"Ok, thanks, Roy."

With this last drive-by shooting incident, Jenny's world was shattering. She was short-tempered and scowling all the time. Jenny was not a happy camper, for sure. We both knew that nothing much could be done, except to take me off of the streets. Not something I wanted to do. Going back into the jail division was not my duty. I resisted as long as I could; however, the day of the inevitable choice came. I have never run from anything, but that is what I felt like I was doing.

Things did quiet down, and Jenny pretty much returned to normal. It was not an easy road, and another trip to Germany was being planned. Going back home would do her good, I thought.

I would never have blamed Jenny for wanting to run away for a little while. Being a Police Officer's wife is never easy. Not just for me but for the entire family. Every time I strapped on my gun and walked out the door with my badge pinned to my chest could have been the last day. God knows I had my share of accidents, knifings, shootings, and near misses. Must have had a couple of someone else's near misses too.