Police officers are asked to check on a bickering mother and son who live together in a private home in their small town. As officers attempt to calm the situation, things quickly and unexpectedly spin out of control. It‘s a reminder of the unfortunate reality that danger can find you anywhere.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:06] Hey, Small Town Fam. It’s Yeardley. How are you, guys? Hope you’re all wonderfully well. As most of you probably know, I usually do these intros to our episodes solo. But today, I am ever so lucky to have my husband, our own Detective Dan, on the microphone across the table from me. Hi, Dan.
Dan: [00:00:29] Hello, wifey.
Yeardley: [00:00:30] [laughs] Hello, you. So, Dan, I thought for this episode in particular, that you should introduce it, because you have a personal connection to our guest. And also, the episode is about a situation that if you’ve never experienced anything like it, there are literally no words to adequately describe the speed at which things unfold and the gravity of what’s happening all around you. But I thought you might want to try.
Dan: [00:01:04] Yeah. I invited Officer Patrick here today to talk about a case that to us in law enforcement really illustrates how quickly a common welfare check can turn into a life and death situation in just a matter of seconds. Patrick and his partner, Officer Roy, Officer Roy is not a guest with us today. We’ve only got Officer Patrick. These are two officers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with throughout my law enforcement career. They work for a neighboring agency. They’re both really good police officers, and more importantly, they’re both really good men. So, I’m thankful that we’ve got Patrick today to talk to us about this incident, about the things that he and his partner did right, and some things that they might have done differently had they somehow known what was about to transpire.
[00:01:54] The reality is we ask officers to step into highly charged situations inside people’s homes and good officers do their very best to make sure everyone is safe and secure. But unfortunately, that’s not always how things turn out, because a suspect gets a vote too.
Yeardley: [00:02:15] Well said. Here is Without Warning.[Small Town Dicks theme]
Yeardley: [00:02:21] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:02:23] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:02:23] I’m Dave.
Paul: [00:02:24] And I’m Paul.
Yeardley: [00:02:25] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:02:28] Dave and I are identical twins.
Dave: [00:02:29] And retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Paul: [00:02:32] And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State Killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: [00:02:38] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: [00:02:45] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: [00:02:52] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: [00:02:57] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved out of respect for what they’ve been through.
[unison]: [00:03:06] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:03:17] Today on Small Town Dicks, oh, boy, we’re super lucky. Guess what? We have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:03:26] Hello, I’m here every time.
Yeardley: [00:03:29] [laughs] Yes, you are. But that doesn’t make this time any less special than all the other times you’ve actually been here.
Dan: [00:03:36] Any moment I can spend with you is special.
Yeardley: [00:03:38] Oh, sweet.
Dave: [00:03:41] Get a fucking room.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:03:44] We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:03:46] Present.
Yeardley: [00:03:47] Present. Grumpy and present. Wishing Dan and I would get a room.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:03:53] And we have the one and only, Paul Holes.
Paul: [00:03:58] Oh, God, how do I follow that up? I don’t know. Hey-hey. [laughs]
Yeardley: [00:04:01] Hey-hey-hey. [laughs] Oh, we’re so lucky. It’s the dream team. And Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome a new guest to the podcast. We have Officer Patrick.
Patrick: [00:04:14] Thank you very much. It is my pleasure to be here.
Dan: [00:04:18] Let’s just talk about his arrival today.
Patrick: [00:04:20] [chuckles]
Yeardley: [00:04:21] Okay. Sure. Because it’s pretty unique.
Dan: [00:04:23] It is unique. It’s a first for us. I mean, we’ve flown people commercial. We’ve never had an actual pilot just show up in his own plane.
Patrick: [00:04:31] I’m going to tell you, I was aching to say I’m a pilot, like, the first words out of my mouth and I didn’t say it.[laughter]
Patrick: [00:04:39] I’m a pilot.
Dan: [00:04:40] He’s a pilot. I’ve known Patrick for many years now. We’ve worked cases together. I mean, I’ve done search warrants where you’ve been there and vice versa.
Patrick: [00:04:50] Yeah.
Dave: [00:04:51] So, Patrick, your agency is our sister agency as we refer to it. How many sworn personnel is your agency?
Patrick: [00:05:01] That’s a good question. I think we’re 200 or so, 200 or so sworn. If you include command staff, we usually have a budget for around 86 on patrol.
Dave: [00:05:10] Okay. You contrast that with our jurisdiction, which we have about 70 sworn, and about 38 to 40 on patrol.
Patrick: [00:05:20] We have a lot more folks working in detective positions. We have specialized detective positions. Like, I spent just shy of 11 years as a financial crimes’ detective. And typically, they don’t do TV shows about that. So, that’s really a long time to spend doing financial crimes.
Yeardley: [00:05:36] [laughs] Amazing. Okay. So, Patrick, tell us how this case came to you.
Patrick: [00:05:43] So, we have to go all the way back to 2006. I had been a police officer for about four years. Officer Roy was newer than me. He’d been on for a year, so he’s still probationary officer. We hit it off. We were kind of buddies. We worked on the same side of town. He was mature and good at talking to people and had a really even keel temper. We were sent to a quiet neighborhood on the north side of town where just not a whole lot was happening that day. I remember it was a frigid cold, crisp February morning in my town. It was not a particularly busy day. In fact, at the time, it was pretty quiet to use the cue word that you’re never supposed to use. But since I’m not working right now, fuck them.[laughter]
[00:06:45] We’re on our way to this call, which was basically a nothing kind of call. It was a welfare check on a couple of people, a mom and a son, in a quiet neighborhood on a cul-de-sac where you wouldn’t think anything would be happening. Dispatch told us that the reason we were doing a welfare check was because the crisis workers van was broken that day.
Yeardley: [00:07:08] What are the crisis workers?
Patrick: [00:07:10] The crisis workers go around and help folks that are in usually some kind of distress, or they’re homeless and they’re looking for resources, they give rise to the hospital, they give rise to the shelters or provide some basic medical treatment, a lot of them are EMTs. So, they provide a really good service for our community. They’re not supposed to go to things where people might be armed or there might be some potential for violence there because they’re not equipped for that.
Yeardley: [00:07:34] Who called the welfare check in?
Patrick: [00:07:37] The mom, Debbie, called in. She was concerned because she said her son, Chris, was running the appliances over and over again with nothing in them, running the washing machine and the dishwasher. She called him a menace. “Chris needed help. He’s in crisis. He has mental health issues.” Debbie wanted him out. She wanted him evicted.
Yeardley: [00:08:01] Oh.
Dave: [00:08:02] How old’s Chris and how old’s Debbie?
Patrick: [00:08:04] Chris was in his early 20s. Debbie was probably in her 40s. In this case, Debbie’s description of his behavior was just conflict in the house, and she’s asking for an eviction, which is something we don’t do as a municipality. That’s something only the sheriff’s office would do. So, Officer Roy went there once before, and he told me about it while we were on our way there. Roy recalled talking to these two. In order to resolve the dispute, he had asked Chris to just go for a walk. Just go for a walk, cool down, and come back a little later today, and that will help solve this for now. If things are still bad, then give us a call back. So, Chris took the advice last time.
[00:08:50] When we’re going to this one, Roy had filled me in that was how he’d handled it before. We approached this house knowing that there was at least one firearm in this house. Roy was aware of it and said, “Chris is a former marine, and had gotten out of the military, and he had at least one rifle at the residence.” And now we knew where the gun was inside this house. So, that was actually one useful thing. So, when we went to the front door, we approached it just normal. One of us goes to the door, the other stands off to the side, and we knock, make contact with Debbie at the front door. She is upset. She’s having a bad time. She’s really tired of the issues that her son has caused her.
[00:09:40] When we walked in, we could see straight through to the backyard through a glass door, and you could see that Chris was outside facing away from us. So, possibly not even aware that we are there. You can see him through the glass door. He’s got his arms straight out, just standing there with his face looking up at the sun.
Yeardley: [00:10:01] So, Chris is standing with his arms straight out to the side looking at the sun, like, he’s worshipping the sun?
Patrick: [00:10:08] Yes, worshipping the sun god is what Roy later described him as doing. Just arms straight out, looking up at the sun, presumably eyes closed. Like I said, it is a crisp February day. It’s probably 20 something degrees outside. It’s cold. So, when we go in and start talking to Debbie, first thing that Roy does is he says, “Where is the rifle? That’s still in this closet?” And she says, “Yes.” So, I talk to her to distract her for a moment. Roy’s thinking, let’s get the gun, put it somewhere else, just in case Chris comes in and he’s mad, he doesn’t go grab it and try and shoot us. That’s not a bad idea. So, I’m keeping an eye on Chris and talking to Debbie. The more I talked to her, the more I felt like she was in a crisis too. So, now I’m thinking, we have two people in a mental health crisis living in the same home, and that’s certainly a recipe for either great harmony or great disaster.
Patrick: [00:11:19] So, you have Officer Roy and Officer Pat, and we were both new. So, you’ve got one new guy and one really new guy going to this call that should have been pretty simple, but ended up being a lot more complicated. So, I’m keeping an eye on Chris through that door. I’m talking to Debbie at the same time. Officer Roy is going and taking this rifle. He’s unloading it completely, putting the rifle in a different place than it was like in a closet nearby, and then putting the ammo in a different place from that. He tells Debbie where this stuff is going to be. So, later on, if she wants to give it back to Chris, then she can. But in the meantime, we have taken that away from Chris.
Dave: [00:12:01] At this point, has Debbie said anything that would lead you to believe that Chris is a danger to himself or posing a threat to her or anyone else? Or, are you not even there yet?
Patrick: We’re not there yet. We’re not even close to it. We have Debbie, who’s super upset about her appliances being ruined. She feels like her son, Chris, is a menace to her, and she’s not really articulating why.
Yeardley: [00:12:28] Has Chris lived with Debbie his whole life? When he came back from the military, did he immediately move in with his mother again?
Patrick: [00:12:36] So, I don’t know how immediate it was. I would assume that it was immediate. I will tell you that it’s not uncommon for us to see people go into the military and experience mental health issues and then be discharged for it. There is a certain period of time– I’m not a doctor. I’m just a pilot, I’m sorry, a police officer. [Yeardley laughs] There’s a certain period of time in early adulthood when the brain is forming, the mental illness comes out. We see that a lot with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. The more serious ones, they seem to come out in early adulthood.
Paul: [00:13:14] Patrick, during this interaction, are you seeing any evidence of drug use? Are you seeing any intoxicated states with Debbie or with Chris?
Patrick: [00:13:23] No, I don’t recall any indication of alcohol or drugs at all. I recall untreated mental illness, like, severe mental illness.
Dave: [00:13:32] As exhibited by Chris is worshipping the sun, which isn’t threatening, but does strike one as odd that he’s doing this in the cold weather, he’s not acknowledging or doesn’t seem to notice that there are two police officers who have arrived at his house.
Yeardley: [00:13:48] Right. It is odd.
Patrick: [00:13:50] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:13:51] So, you’ve now encountered Debbie in the house. You’re distracting Debbie while Roy goes and collects the rifle, puts it somewhere else, puts the ammunition in yet a different place so they’re not together. Is Debbie hysterical? How do you engage her to tell you exactly what’s going on beyond the appliances being run forever and ever?
Patrick: [00:14:12] So, Roy is the one who’s going to go talk to Debbie now. He engages in a conversation with her, basically telling her, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we’re going to be able to help you.” And my buddy, my calm buddy, Officer Roy, was getting to a point where I could see his patience was waning, and he was beginning to turn into less calm, and he was on the verge of becoming that other side of him that rarely comes out, where he gets frustrated and you can tell. Debbie is yelling at him. She’s being unreasonable. So, I’m like, “Hey, why don’t I step in here?” Without saying that, I just start talking to Debbie.
[00:14:50] Roy takes the hint and moves away a little bit. I start talking to her about the problems they’re having. I’m trying to be a good listener and hearing her concerns. And then she’s saying, “I want him out. I want you to take Chris out of this house. I want to evict him. I have this eviction paperwork right here that says, ‘I am evicting Chris from my house.” Now, while I am having this conversation with Debbie, Officer Roy says, “I’m going to go out and just touch base with Chris.” This is a mistake on our part, separating like this, but Roy and I are both new. At the same time, we’re two people at a scene with two people. So, we have the option of calling another officer to the scene to help us or we can just handle it.
[00:15:36] At the time, we’re thinking this is pretty much a big nothing. This was supposed to be a call for the crisis workers, but their van’s broken. So, here we are. Let’s do our best and just resolve it for now. So, Officer Roy goes to the backyard to talk to Chris and I continue to talk to Debbie, because she and I are getting along swimmingly. At one point, I’ve got Debbie in this position where she’s saying, “Okay, okay, I understand.” And then she says suddenly, “If you’re not going to help me, then be gone.” She says that word multiple times that always stuck with me, it’s just like that’s a really strange thing to say. But again, I think Debbie was having some mental health issues too.
[00:16:19] So, after she says, be gone a couple of times, and I try and bring her back to where I’m at, I hear something and I get chills just thinking about it. But I hear something coming from the backyard that absolutely stopped me cold. Just talking about it right now, I still get chills thinking about it. It’s so difficult to describe that feeling, because you realize life and death is here and it’s about to hit you right in the face. So, I hear from the backyard, a series of gunshots. I hear one, then a couple more. I remember yelling, “Get down.” I pushed Debbie away from this sliding glass door just for some concealment and cover for her. I only assumed that my intentions were the most heroic and noble at the time, although I don’t recall doing it apparently. I move out of my area of covering concealment, because I realize in the backyard of this place, Officer Roy is potentially getting shot.
[00:17:26] I start moving toward the door. Before I can take more than a step, because it all happens so fast, I see Chris fall down in front of this door, like, right outside of it, and his head and hands go out of view, out of the frame of the door. And then I see the ground exploding around him, I see a portion of the patio get removed. And then I see a portion of his pants and the skin under his pants get removed. I’m seeing something explode behind him. The first thought I had was, “Holy shit, Roy, what are you doing?” As I’m having that thought, I see Chris, and he starts to sit up. Not all the way, just enough to get his shoulders and his arms and his hands out in front of him as if to shoot from a laying down position, as we’ve practiced at the range. I see a gun in his hands that I hadn’t seen before.
[00:18:25] Chris has a trained grip on this weapon. He knows what he’s doing and he has a very deliberate intent. My assumption at this point is that, since he’s lying down, he’s not even thinking about me at this point. I key my mic, say, “Code 3, cover, shots fired.” As I’m doing this, I fire four shots at Chris. “Shot fire, shot fire, shot, fire.” [gunshots firing] “Shot fired. Code 3, cover.”
911 Female Operator: [00:18:57] What’s your location?
Yeardley: [00:18:58] Oh, my God. And that’s your actual radio traffic we just heard?
Patrick: [00:19:02] Yeah, there’s all this commotion on the radio after that. Everybody’s trying to talk at the same time, and all it produced was a bunch of squawks and beeps. “Shot fired. Suspect down. Code 3, cover. Code 3, medics.”
911 Male Operator: [00:19:16] [unintelligible [00:19:16] and everybody stay off the air. Just respond.
911 Female Operator: Stage 1, Code 10. All units stay off the air.
Patrick: [00:19:25] It all happens so fast. And then I look out at this body on this back porch, and there’s no movement. I walk up there and I can see immediately Chris is deceased. The color is gone from him immediately and I could tell right away that Chris is not alive.
Patrick: [00:20:06] So, the door is shattered. I’m seeing a hole in the frame of the door. I’m thinking, there’s no way that I hit this guy. And so, I yell something to Roy, saying, “Hey, I’m going to poke my head out.” I poke my head out. I look to my right, I see Roy poke his head out from behind a shed. I can see bullet holes in this shed right at the same level as Roy’s face where he was standing and I’m thinking, holy crap. And I’m like, “Are you okay?” Roy says, “Yeah, are you okay?” “Well, yeah, but no one shot at me.”
[00:20:40] So, it’s all come together. Now I’ve got the whole idea of what happened, and I can tell you that Roy’s part of this was much more harrowing and definitely life threatening. I’m so thankful that he was able to fall back on his training. So, when Roy went into the backyard and talked to Chris, and I’m talking to Debbie and having what I thought would be a fruitful conversation, Roy approaches Chris out in the backyard. Roy says, “Hey, Chris, it’s Officer Roy again. We talked last time.” Chris doesn’t acknowledge Roy. Doesn’t look at him or anything, doesn’t move. Just says, “Are you going to make me take another walk?” Roy says, “Well, maybe, but let’s talk about what’s going on today first.” Roy says, “Hey, Chris, I’m just going to pat you down real quick just for weapons. Is that okay?” Chris says, “Yeah, that’s okay.” He says, “Just go and put your hands behind your back.” He says, okay.
[00:21:39] So, Chris starts to put his hands behind his back, and just as Roy is starting to take control of Chris’ hands, Chris says, “No.” Chris turns around very suddenly, reaches his hand under his shirt into a shoulder holster and produces a semi-automatic pistol. This gun comes out of nowhere. Roy sees this gun, grabs the frame, points it toward the ground. Chris squeezes the trigger and around goes into the ground. The gun misfires and jams. Roy instinctively punches Chris right in the gut as hard as he can, and he says that Chris bends down toward him, and he can hear him go, “Ah,” Roy’s thinking that was effective. Roy pushes Chris away and fires a couple shots as he’s running away.
Yeardley: [00:22:34] Does Roy fire a shot at Chris?
Patrick: [00:22:36] Roy fired at least one shot at Chris. Meanwhile, Chris, being a marksman, he cycles his firearm and starts firing at Roy.
Dan: [00:22:48] So, he deals with the malfunction.
Patrick: [00:22:51] He deals with the malfunction like a pro.
Paul: [00:22:53] That speaks to Chris’ high skill set with the firearm.
Patrick: [00:22:58] Absolutely. He knows what he’s doing. He’s done this hundreds of times. Meanwhile, Roy sees this shed, and sees it as a place of concealment and possible cover, and he goes to retreat and take a position behind the shed. And then Roy sees Chris firing back at him, and then turn like he’s going to go into the house. Roy’s first thought is, “Oh, shit, my partner is inside the house. He didn’t get me. He’s going to go kill my partner.” So, Roy leaves his position of concealment and cover to return fire at this guy. One of Roy’s rounds that he shot hit Chris in the hip, which immobilized him. It made him fall to the ground.
Yeardley: [00:23:46] That’s when you see Chris, when he’s fallen to the ground in front of the door.
Patrick: [00:23:49] Exactly. So, presumably, Chris would have just opened that door and come inside right at me and his mom. Instead, Roy kept that from happening because he had a very well-placed shot.
Dave: [00:24:04] From the first shot that you hear to the time that you’ve now shot your rounds, how many seconds?
Patrick: [00:24:11] Less than 10 seconds for sure. We’re probably talking seven seconds or eight seconds from beginning to end for the whole thing. It’s pretty short.
Dave: [00:24:19] And it was an ambush.
Patrick: [00:24:20] Absolutely. So, I’ve transmitted on the radio that officers are Code 4, which means we’re okay. The suspect is down and I give some information about what the house looks like, what our address is, and I said, “Enter through the garage.” And so, I say, okay, wait right there to Roy. As I’m going through the house to get to the garage, I realize, “Oh, there’s another person here. There’s Debbie.” She is sitting at a desk right near where I had pushed her down, just sobbing uncontrollably. Who wouldn’t be? I put my hands on her shoulders and I said, “Hey, just wait right here. I’ll be right back. Everything’s going to be okay,” something comforting. I hope, I was articulate and comforting, although it may have just been a bit– and then just walked away. I have no idea. I want to believe, again, heroically that I did it right, but I just don’t know. So, I go out. I open the garage door.
Yeardley: [00:25:16] Why do you want your cover officers to enter through the garage and not through the front door if the suspect is deceased?
Patrick: [00:25:24] I was thinking, tactically, it might be easier to just have everyone use one entrance and that’s one wide entrance. I was thinking, I’m going to be standing by there.
Dan: [00:25:32] You saying, ‘Come in through the garage.” I think about that as an investigator, as a great move on your part, because your shell casings are inside the house.
Patrick: [00:25:42] That’s correct.
Dan: [00:25:43] So, when you have fire personnel who come in or other police officers, things get kicked around and it is usually shell casings. The actual position of these shell casings in the house is going to tell a very clear story to seasoned investigators and it is very important evidence.
Patrick: [00:26:01] I agree. I don’t know that I had that in my fairly young officer mind at the time, but it certainly must have been helpful to them later on. So, I see Roy, I’m like, “Are you okay?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “Okay, you can holster up. The suspect is down.” Roy starts to holster up and looking at me like, “No, I don’t need to hols– No, I’m not holstering up.”
Yeardley: [00:26:22] What does that mean? Put your gun back in your holster?
Patrick: [00:26:25] Yeah. “Yeah, you can put your gun back in your holster. We’re good. Everything’s fine.”
Yeardley: [00:26:28] And Roy’s like, “No, no, I’m not doing it.”
Patrick: [00:26:31] “I’m not doing that.” And he started to and then he brought it right back out again. I was like, “Okay, well, if you need to do that, you need to do that.” So, then I went out to where I could see from the garage into the house. Shortly thereafter, officers started arriving on scene. I grabbed Roy and I said, “We’re not staying here. You and I are leaving.” Everybody else is here. And at that time, he holsters up. We walk out of the garage. I turn to the officer that just arrived and I said, “Hey, the mom’s right in there where I’m pointing. The bad guy is out back, and we’re out.” And he’s like, “Okay.”
Yeardley: [00:27:06] I’m surprised you’re allowed to leave.
Dave: [00:27:08] It’s absolutely the right choice. Get the two officers that were just involved in a critical incident, get them away from the scene. Get them in a controlled environment, take photos of them from head toe to document any injuries or any tears in their uniform. All this goes towards what happened in that backyard.
Patrick: [00:27:27] Absolutely.
Dan: [00:27:46] After the shooting, do you leave the scene? Where does it go from there?
Patrick: [00:27:50] There were seven or nine newly promoted sergeants who were all in a big white van pulling up as we’re walking out of this garage. So, conveniently, they take them out of the van and load us into the van, and then we sat in that van. It seemed like we were there for an hour. Nowadays, I don’t think they would have us sitting together. I think they would separate us. But they just sat us in that van, had us sitting there just chilling, and we’re both just in shock, like, “Did this really just happen?” So, we sat there and sat there and sat there, and then eventually they drove us to the police department apartment, went to the union office, and got to talk to our union rep who had no idea what had happened.
[00:28:29] I told him the story and he goes, “Ah, you guys are fine.” And I was like, “Really? Okay, cool.” He’s like, “Yeah, you guys are fine. You guys are golden”. And the attorney’s like, “Yeah, you guys are good. Don’t worry about it. You’re good. You did everything right.” And I was like, “Oh, good. Okay.”
Dave: [00:28:45] They tell you to not worry about it, but you’re a human. You know what you’re involved in.
Patrick: [00:28:50] Yeah. Really, it is a pretty big deal to shoot your gun inside city limits and hit a person.
Dave: [00:28:56] You’re a suspect in a homicide.
Patrick: [00:28:58] Basically. Yeah.
Dave: [00:28:59] How did you and Roy really deal with that? How did you guys navigate the next few days?
Patrick: [00:29:06] I think we focused more on just family at that point and kind of decompressing. I remember at the time, I bought a video game and thought, “I’m just going to play a video game for a couple of days and take my mind off of everything,” just mind numbing. I could not get into it. Tried engaging in other hobbies, but I could not get my mind into anything. I couldn’t enjoy anything. Like, there was this thing in the back of my mind that is like, “I need to play this incident for you, again.” That’s all we’re really going to think about. It got less frequent as the days went on, but initially, it’s just over and over again. All I’m seeing is what happened, a matter of a few seconds going on. It’s definitely changed how I responded to things in the future. In fact, I almost left police work because of it, because I went back to the job after a couple of weeks.
[00:29:54] At the time, it was customary to take a few days off, maybe a week. I took two just because I felt like it. Even after that, I really didn’t want to go back. When I did go back, every call I went to I felt was going to be a shooting. I was beyond hypervigilant. I was so excessively hypervigilant that it just became stressful. It became really stressful. I’m sure part of that was just my human psychology saying, “Hey, you could have died that day. We got to protect you by having you be much more aware and much more vigilant in the future.” But man, it was a lot to take on. So, it completely changed the dynamic. And that took a while to go away.
Dan: [00:30:33] I know the feeling.
Yeardley: [00:30:35] How did you get it to go away?
Patrick: [00:30:37] Time.Time helped quite a bit. I had some good coworkers who were good sounding boards that I could talk to, had some good support people. They really made a difference. I, to this day, feel some guilt over it. I feel bad about the life that was lost, because that was someone’s baby. I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel proud of that aspect of it. I feel proud for surviving. Mostly, I feel proud of Roy. I mean, he’s the hero of that hour. He took on someone who tried to ambush him. Roy overcame all of that, fought back, fought back hard, left without any physical injury. I cannot express how much respect I have for Roy for the way that he fought through that.
[00:31:20] My part was so much smaller and kind of ancillary. I spent a few days thinking, I did nothing useful there other than put rounds through a doorframe, put rounds through a glass door, and push an old lady onto the ground.
Yeardley: [00:31:37] So, you were not aware that you’d ever hit Chris with your bullets?
Patrick: [00:31:42] I was not aware.
Dave: [00:31:43] Where did your bullets go?
Patrick: [00:31:45] I don’t find that out till after they’ve already done their investigation. I fired four rounds. When I guessed, I guessed I fired three and I was wrong. I fired four rounds. You can tell by the trajectory from where I was at very distinctly, they must have come from my direction. One of my rounds hit Chris in the leg. One round went into his abdomen. One round went into his chest, would have been fatal. And then one round went into his brainstem and killed him instantly.
[00:32:16] Now, what none of us knew at the time is that Chris was already fatally wounded. He already had a wound to his chest which would cause him to bleed out in a matter of a minute.
Yeardley: [00:32:30] Where did the chest wound come from?
Patrick: [00:32:33] That came from Roy. I want to say that Roy hit Chris four times out of nine shots that he fired. Now, that round to the hip was the one that actually brought Chris down and made him stop his retreat or potentially his aggression toward me. When he fell in front of me, I had no idea that he had been hit in the hip.
Dave: [00:32:59] How many shots did Chris get off in this exchange?
Patrick: [00:33:03] That’s a really good question. Chris must have gotten off between 6 shots and 10 shots, and there were casings all over that backyard.
Dave: [00:33:10] Shell casings. They bounce around like footballs.
Paul: [00:33:13] Oh, yeah. I’ve responded out to so many officer-involved shootings and processed those crime scenes and documented the officers and their firearms. Early on, the information that we get are the initial statements from the officers. As Officer Pat said, he didn’t recall the number of shots he fired accurately. That is typical. And so, the crime scene investigators have to do an extraordinarily thorough search, because they can’t rely on, “Oh, he only fired three times. Well, I found three cartridge cases. I’m done.’ You have to be able to look everywhere.
Dan: [00:33:47] You have to be thorough for everyone’s sake. So, Patrick, what else did the investigators find in the house?
Patrick: [00:33:54] Well, during the investigation, the detectives did a search warrant of the house and found two submachine guns. Chris had a TEC-9 and then a MAC-10 with an extended magazine, held a ridiculous number of rounds, like, extended the handle of the gun significantly. I remember thinking, “Holy crap, this could have gone a whole lot differently.” And then I went back to thinking about our crisis workers, and how they were the ones who were supposed to go when their van was down that day. Well, what if they had gone? Would they have gotten shot or would the whole thing have been avoided completely? There’s a lot more that we would find out later about his state of mind. It makes sense from his delusional state, why he would react the way that he did. So, Chris was very paranoid and very delusional. The best guess from the investigators was that he thought that we were there to take him away.
Yeardley: [00:34:52] To a mental hospital or something?
Patrick: [00:34:55] To take him away. The government was there to take him away.
Yeardley: [00:34:58] Oh.
Patrick: [00:34:59] To where, I don’t know.
Paul: [00:35:00] This really underscores the danger to Officer Roy and quite frankly, Officer Pat and Debbie, because you have a highly trained military guy who knows what he’s doing with this firearm.
Patrick: [00:35:14] Not only that, he’s not okay. He’s a guy with all this training and he’s not okay.
Dave: [00:35:21] Patrick, were you afraid that someone was going to die that day?
Patrick: [00:35:25] I don’t recall even having the chance to think about fear. My body, my mind, my subconscious, all took care of everything for me. I didn’t have to do anything. I was along for the ride. I’ve hit four very distinct areas of a body in defense of another person with very little conscious thought process actually happening.
Dave: [00:35:45] And you don’t remember much of that at all other than you’re in the situation.
Patrick: [00:35:51] Other than I’m watching this whole thing unfold, and I am taking action, and action, I did not have really the presence of mind to be able to make any kind of adjustments. Just falling back on all the training that I’d been given and falling back on instincts.
Dan: [00:36:07] It’s muscle memory.
Patrick: [00:36:09] Exactly. There’s so much autopilot involved. Oh, I said pilot again.[laughter]
Dan: [00:36:14] Yes.
Patrick: [00:36:14] Sorry. It had been a little while. Did I mention I’m a pilot?
Dave: [00:36:17] You have mentioned that a couple of times.
Yeardley: [00:36:19] Thank you so much for bringing that to us, Patrick. I honestly can’t imagine what it must be like to have that as one of the memories as part of your life. You say that you weren’t the heroic one, but it does seem like it was very much a team effort that day.
Patrick: [00:36:35] Oh, I appreciate that. Definitely a team effort. There’s no understating what it feels like to go through that and then come out the other side and just move on with life.
Dan: [00:36:44] Probably a pretty amazing bond that you and Roy Have.
Patrick: [00:36:47] Absolutely. He was a great guy before that. He’s a great guy and a hero of mine now, for sure.
Dave: [00:36:53] Warrior mindset. It matters.
Patrick: [00:36:55] Absolutely.
Paul: [00:36:56] Survivors.
Yeardley: [00:36:58] Thank you so much.
Patrick: [00:36:59] Thank you.[music]
Yeardley: [00:37:04] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. Our production manager is Logan Heftel. Our senior editor is Soren Begin, and our editor is Christina Bracamontes. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only, Monika Scott. Our music is composed by John Forest, and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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