This is the third installment of Fictionalizing the News, a writing exercise I set for myself where I write a short story based on an article in the news. Please be aware as you read this, that though it is based on an actual event, I am not attempting to describe reality or tell the truth in any way, it is just a story that I made up. The characters in this story may have names that correspond to those of real people, but they are entirely fictional. I call this story The Police Shooting and it is based on this article.

Wade Irwin stepped into the police cruiser and set the two mugs of coffee down in the cup holders. Jonathan DeGuzman pulled out from the curb then reached for his cup and took a sip. “Jeezus Christ Irwin what did you get me? It tastes like sugar and fucking battery acid.” “You asked for a surprise so I ordered the gayest sounding thing they had on the menu” his partner replied. “God damn it” continued DeGuzman “this shit is undrinkable, next time just get me a cup of plain black coffee.” Irwin frowned “Pfft, next time, you get the coffee.”

They drove on in silence for a couple of minutes but it wasn’t long until they came up on a car with all the familiar gang signs, tinted windows, big chrome wheels and a driving style that suggested the driver was either high or drunk or both. “We’ve got a live one” DeGuzman said, “call it in”. Irwin reached for the radio and spoke into the microphone “Station, this is car 411” “Go ahead 411” came the reply. “We have some suspicious activity here, we will be making a stop to check it out.” “Copy that 411, station out” came the voice on the other end. Irwin put the radio back, then flipped the switches for the lights and siren. He smiled, “OK JD, let’s get these clowns.”

DeGuzman accelerated, coming up close behind the suspicious vehicle which slowed to a halt almost immediately. They stepped out of the patrol car and walked towards the other vehicle. DeGuzman, right hand on his holster, walked out to the side hoping to see the driver more clearly as he approached. What he hadn’t noticed until now was that the driver side window was open, he noticed the movement inside but it was too late. The driver of the suspect car reached out through the open window, pointed a gun at the approaching officer and fired several shots at his chest. With a scream of pain DeGuzman went down on the ground then lay still.

When he heard the first gunshot Irwin dove to the ground and took cover behind the open door. Moments later a bullet went through the passenger side window, sending shards of glass raining down on him. “JD” he shouted “JD, are you hit?” No answer, shit he was all alone. Staying as low as possible, he positioned himself so that he could see into the cabin, then lunged upwards to grab the radio. “Shots fired, officer down, I repeat, OFFICER DOWN” he shouted then let go of the call button. “Copy that, we’ll send backup, what’s your location?” came the voice from the other side. “Boston Avenue just west of fortieth.” he hollered into the microphone as a second bullet clanged into the door. It felt like ages until the voice came back, “Hang tight, backup is on its way”.

Irwin let go of the radio then moved backwards, back pressed against the side of the car in order to stay out of sight from the shooter, until he could peek out at the other vehicle. Two men were standing by the car, one on either side, guns drawn and pointed towards the police cruiser. On the ground, just meters away from the police cruiser lay DeGuzman, a large puddle of blood spreading out around him. Irwin ducked back behind the car just before another bullet whistled past. He pressed his back against the car, took a couple of deep breaths to try to calm himself down despite the fear. He upholstered his gun, checked it – fully loaded and ready to go. “Hold on JD, I’m gonna get these bastards” he whispered to himself, took one final, deep breath then leaped into action.

At this point his academy training kicked in: he raised the gun one-handed over the trunk of the car, fired a couple of rounds in the direction of the man on the passenger side to give himself cover, then, in one smooth motion popped up from behind the car and fired two shots at the driver who went down immediately. Before he could turn and shoot the other man, he felt the searing pain of a bullet hitting his chest. He staggered backwards but managed to fire a round in the direction of the other man as he fell. His vision going dark, he saw the other culprit turn and flee, just before he hit the ground. The last thing he could remember before passing out was the sound of sirens in the distance.