A City of Rehoboth Beach Road Officer Responds to a Suicide-By-Cop Call
911: Suicidal subject. A Rehoboth cop faces a man with a death wish.
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As my head started to clear, and I began to focus on the situation, I realized that I could not have picked a more favorable place if there was to be gun play. None of the residences or businesses on the street appeared to be occupied. It would be unlikely that an innocent civilian would be hit by a stray bullet. And although the subject was facing the highway, there was sparse traffic. Behind him was a wide expanse of Rehoboth Bay that was free of boats. Behind me, except for the highway, there were dunes. This was the place to handle this job. I needed to box this guy in so I could make sure that if something happened, it happened there.
I didn’t notice anything else, not the sounds of the water or the hum of highway traffic. But I did notice Cpl. Ray Edwards arrive on the scene. He didn’t have his lights on, so I suspected that he was unaware he was coming into a suicide-by-cop situation. Ray’s arrival gave me comfort. I could always rely on him to be calm and clear-headed.
I started back to my vehicle, but I never took my eyes off of the guy, and I never took my hand off of my still-holstered pistol. I was far enough from him that I felt he would have a difficult time making an accurate shot, and I wanted to use my vehicle as cover. I quickly brought Ray up to speed over the radio as I moved to my car. I also told both officers that I wanted to barricade the subject in with our vehicles. All this time, the subject’s gaze never left me.
I started to move my car across the roadway, but as I got it into position—before Ray or the Dewey officer could move theirs—the subject started driving toward me. My chest got tight. My mouth went dry. I could see him clearly through his windshield. There was no glare. The sky was overcast. There was no change in his expression. I got out of my vehicle and drew my weapon. I had cover on the side of my vehicle behind the engine block. But I quickly understood that if he continued toward me, I would no longer be protected. He continued. He had the same stare, the same blank expression.
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