The call came in at about 12:30am one early Sunday morning. It was a domestic violence call, about the most dangerous call for service a cop gets…and you usually got about 3-4 a week. This one was interesting because the woman was running around the outside of her house as her crazed husband chased her in circles. That wasn’t the interesting part though, the part that had her screaming on 911 and the detail that made it memorable was what the husband was carrying in his hands. “My husband is chasing me with a pickaxe!” “Help!” she screamed to the dispatcher.
Did you say pickaxe? I asked the dispatcher. Yes, that’s what she said, came the response. I was given the address that was out on a very dark farm road. I was told to look for the junkyard, that the chase was around the house that sat beside it. My back-up that night was my buddy Dave, who was also speeding his way to the location. We both got to the scene about the same time and parked the squad cars at the end of a long dirt driveway. The woman was still screaming, but this time it was directed at us and she pointed to the junkyard. It seems the husband had observed us driving up and had run off into the darkness. The junkyard was situated on about 10 acres, the man owned the property. The junk cars were in fairly structured rows and seemed to go on forever. The pickaxe wielding maniac definitely had the upper hand at the moment. He was lurking in the darkness of a piece of property he knew well…he had the element of surprise. Dave and I set out to walk the property, weapons drawn.
We walked down the rows of the junkyard positioning ourselves so that a pickaxe didn’t wind up in our backs…covering each other’s weak side. In the distance we could hear a loud, repetitive sound…a banging on metal. The maniac was going down a row and burying the pickaxe in the hood of each car he passed. Hmmm, a dumb and/or drunk maniac, it was getting better for us. We followed the sound and were relieved that we now knew he was definitely in front of us. Dave called out, “Police, come on now, no one gets hurt. Put down the weapon.” Then out of the darkness came the response, “I am not going to jail mother-fuckers!” Game on, I thought…we slowly walked farther into the darkness. How far could a guy throw an ax, I wondered? We knew we were okay as long as we heard the steady beat of that ax pounding the junk vehicles. The dispatcher came over the radio for a “status check”…they were trained to do that on dangerous calls every five minutes. I requested that the radio channel go silent and to leave it open for our traffic only…just in case.
It was pitch black, can’t see your hand in front of your face black. We had flashlights of course, but didn’t want to illuminate a nice target for the maniac. The banging from car to car stopped….total silence. We walked on towards the last sound we had heard…crossing over two rows. We still could see nothing, so we stood there in the darkness. It was time for us to go fish.
“You really know how to treat a woman,” I yelled out…”really great chasing your wife around with an ax, tough guy!” After about 15 seconds came a shout from about 20 feet in front of us, “that bitch has drove me crazy, she is lucky I couldn’t catch her!” Dave and I were now pretty sure of his location and separated to circle around to him from two different directions. I got close enough to actually smell the maniac before I could see him. He smelled of beer and that panic-type sweat most drunks reeked of when you put them in the back of your patrol car. The maniac heard my last step and turned quickly, the pickaxe was suddenly raised….my weapon was already trained on his center body-mass.
The maniac next felt the metal of Dave’s pistol up against the back of his head. Very softly Dave said, “drop the weapon asshole.” The maniac let the ax fall to the ground and we quickly handcuffed him. Dave led our prisoner back to his squad car and I followed carrying the pickaxe.
The next day, five minutes after the bond was set by our Judge, a cash bond was posted and the maniac was released. The husband and wife drove off in a beat up pick-up truck, back to their home at the junkyard.
That same Sunday, back again to start our shift at 11pm, Dave and I got into our squad cars. I had driven about a mile when the dispatcher called out, “221?” 221 go ahead. Be en route to a domestic, woman says her husband is drunk and…