Last Sunday as I was heading home, I noticed the increasingly familiar sight of a helicopter swooping in circles around the heights area of Lincoln Heights. Things have been heating up around Northeast LA and by things, I mean gangs and related activities. They usually confine their exploits to the wee hours of the night so I was surprised at all the commotion on a Sunday afternoon.
Besides the helicopter, I noticed a number of police cars zooming by me, both black and white and those detective Lincoln Town Cars but I was quite surprised to see at least three large bomb squad trucks zipping up the road behind them. Geez, what could it be? A house full of explosives?
There’s a lot of folks on the Eastside that instead of running away from trouble, run to it out of curiosity. Call them stupid but how many folks do you know who run to the window when they hear gunshots and squealing tires? Or if they hear fights or ambulances run out to catch the action? What can I say, I’m a product of my environment. I followed the police cars to the scene.
As I walked up Ave 33, I found a number of bored bystanders watching and waiting for something to happen. The police were leisurely strutting around dressed in their full bomb squad regalia, some with machine-guns out. I asked a lady in Spanish what was going on and she said “a guy with a gun, locked in the house.”
Here’s my account I posted on Facebook:
Ok, just got back. Some guy has a gun and is holed up in his house on Ave 33 near Griffin. There’s like excessive amount of police. Three bomb squad trucks and about twenty cruisers.
I asked a British guy next to me in a tweed coat and a little dog on a leash (!) what was going on and he answered me ” Your tax dollars hard at work.” And we started joking that the cops were having a bored Sunday and needed to get out. Or maybe they were just training and trying out new equipment. Then these young teen girls go: “This better not be a training exercise. I’m missing a baby shower for this!” Then people started laughing and joking and perhaps the cops heard us cause a few minutes later they made us disperse.
After we dispersed, there was an older chola-ish lady that had a small disagreement with the police as they wouldn’t let her walk a certain way home. As she walked away, she grumbled dejectedly to her friend and I, “I’ll just go home and watch this on the news.” I told her I didn’t think this would be on the news as there were no newsvans there and no reporters either. She replied “Oh well, I’ll come back and ask the neighbors around here what happened.”
Now that the Los Angeles Times is pretty much useless for local information and the local TV stations can’t be bothered to cover stories here, the role of neighbors and friends as sources of information will take on an ever important role. Information goes retro. It made me think, this is what LA Eastside is – your metiche neighbor running to the scene, peeking out the window, taking photos and then chismeando the info all over town.
Waiting for the action
Oh by the way, the incident involved a guy holed up in his house threatening a family member with a gun. It was neither gang related nor did it involve any bombs.
(The incident details provided to me by a neighbor. Thanks, Julio!)