About an hour ago I was responding to a thread in this forum when I heard a siren going full blast and coming fast!
One became three and three became half a dozen! All of them coming right past my house, only yards away from us!
So many sirens that I knew it wasn't just a common occurrence, like fire trucks and/or an ambulance! by the time I made it to my front door that half a dozen had become a dozen and even twenty!
I stepped out the front door and there were three police cars stopped in front of my house, sirens clashing and blue lights flashing...
the only reason they had stopped here, though is that I'm on a corner lot and they were yielding the right of way as another ten police cars screamed on past, following the twenty or so that had gone before!
Going to the sidewalk, the center of the commotion was only six or eight short blocks south of us... More police cars kept coming, a helicopter was circling and we could hear the gunshots - dozens of them all together like popcorn when when it's going its' fastest and then, like popcorn, it tapered off to silence, except for the helicopter and the sirens that were still going and the police cars that were still arriving...
... and we could smell the gunpowder... half a dozen blocks away and the smell was strong, pungent and would have been easily recognizable, even if we hadn't heard the gunfire.
There was a movie on and the 10 o'clock news was delayed, but I waited to see if there were any details forthcoming.
It was kind of funny, because we got closer than any of the news crews, except they did get a picture of the black SUV that was riddled with bullet holes.
>^.K! That car reminded me of Bonnie and Clyde's car after they were ambushed by the G-Men! They had a short interview with someone that lived right by where the SUV had been stopped and they described the gunfire as lasting five minutes, including some possible automatic weapons fire!
Now I'm waiting for the eleven o'clock news to see what the other channels have in their coverage...
_________________ >^. Karl Stuart Kline ~^<
********* Okay, more assertions of automatic weapons fire, but no official confirmation as to what weapons might have been recovered from the scene...
Apparently the chase started in West Palm Beach when shots were fired into a barber shop near Forest Hill Boulevard (not far from where I work, actually!) Other people were shot at as well and the police quickly became involved, pursuing the SUV (?) onto I-95 southbound...
One of the two men in the SUV jumped out by Lantana and has been apprehended by the police. The other stayed with the car in a running gun battle until his tires were shot out and the car was forced to a stop near my home in Delray Beach. Judging by the descriptions, hundreds of shots were fired and It has been reported that the man who stayed with the car is now dead... No one has been identified by name yet. More in a moment...
I think we were hosting the Policeman's Ball tonight!
As many townships as this chase went through, we could have had half a dozen or more different townships represented in the pursuit... West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Lantana, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, more... Several of the police cars there were unmarked vehicles, so there's no way to be certain where they had all come from. Most of what was there at the end though were Delray Police and CountySheriff'sDeputies. I also saw one Florida HighwayPatrol vehicle.
My Russian Wife thought she had come to the Wild West! Welcome to Amerika!
This is important, of course... So far there is no news of any one else being shot or otherwise injured. That may change, of course as this mess gets unraveled, but so far the news in that regard is good. I did manage to ask a couple of the policemen on the scene as well and they said that nobody else was hurt, so that confirms it pretty well... (We hope!)
We did see another arrest made while we were there, but it was not directly related to the shooting. There was a boozy old man, drunk as a skunk from the sound of it... A curious drunk who wanted to get closer for a look see and he was impervious to the explanations of the two officers who were telling him that he couldn't go into a crime scene. It was almost comical the way he started to tell them that he was, by God, a taxpaying American citizen who had his rights and they couldn't tell him what to do or where to go!
That lasted until it was obvious that he wasn't going to cooperate and he got handcuffed and led away!
I was up early this morning and I've been back to the scene already... The SUV is still there and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office is conducting the investigation.
I spoke with one of the perimeter guards and it still looks like it was just the two people involved. No police or deputies were injured and I was told that nobody other than the driver was injured either.
A couple of corrections seem to be in order now that things are getting sorted out. Evidently the SUV was a dark blue instead of black... more importantly, the police used "Stop Sticks" to flatten the tires instead of shooting them out as I had originally understood from people on the scene. As a matter of fact I heard a lot of stuff from other people on the scene, that I rightly dismissed as wild conjecture... (somebody told me that they heard that seven people were dead! I told them that if they stayed around long enough they'd hear twenty!) So it's good to hear that the only person injured was the driver, who is quite dead!
Looking at the photographs, I wonder how it is that none of those bullets set off the gas tank... But they didn't and that makes the investigation easier.
This morning's Palm Beach Post has it as their lead story and the rest of it is pretty much as I already told it.
We'll hear more...
One last thought, before I'm off to work...
That vehicle was stopped only a few blocks short of Atlantic Avenue. They were that close to having a running gun battle amongst the sidewalk cafes on the avenue! On a busy Friday night, too! Even if the cops stopped shooting for fear of hitting anyone, that driver was still dangerous and unpredictable! They HAD to stop him before he got that far! And they did! did!
When I came home from work tonight I did a short detour and parked my car on the grass about half a block from where the shootout was last night.
There was a TV news crew there doing some follow up on last night's story... Channel 5, if anybody who reads this is from our area and wants to see what they have to say. I spoke with the reporter for a few minutes, but off camera, so you won't see me. As far as she 's concerned, I'm just a neighbor who didn't really offer anything to add to her story. There was a chain link fence surrounding the property that the SUV had plowed into and the owner was out on his yard. He told us that the first he knew was when he heard the first few gunshots and he had called 911.
The operator asked where he was calling from and when he told her, she told him to get into his bathtub and get down! He also said that there was definitely automatic weapons fire! He had a lot of very nice policemen camping on his lawn all night long! Mostly recovering bullets and looking for any other relevant evidence.
If their forensics team is going to try to account for every shot that any of the officers fired, then they've got their work cut out for them!
This is the passenger side mirror from the SUV (my photo) - despite the bullet hole and the shattered glass, I could still read where it had said that, "OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR!"
I went back again this morning and I also did the detour to the shootout site again tonight.
They're starting to find out some more about what happened - like the fact that he was a 21 year old Hispanic male - but everybody is still trying to figure out why it happened...
Now that the cops are gone and the '97 Chevy Tahoe has been towed away, there are just bits and pieces remaining... Both side mirrors - shattered, of course! The passenger side mirror with a couple of bullet holes and part of the message, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" still readable. I took a picture of that and after I crop it down, I'll put it on my web site. Maybe later tonight...
Also someone has put a wreath where he died... Pink - no message... I took a picture of that also.
I wanted to thank you for the good words! Obviously this weekend has been kind of tense... (How's that for understatement?) >^.Karl!
Wed, May 24
Good news! Marina has passed her test! Now we just have to wait for them to schedule her oath and she will be a US citizen! We drove past the scene of the shooting again on our way home... There are more flowers there now. I'll go back and take another picture later.
Yesterday's paper enumerated the officers that discharged their weapons during the chase and at the scene. Nineteen Sheriff's deputies and three Boynton Beach police officers... Antonio Gerardo Isaias Magdaleno had two lethal wounds and they still are counting how many bullets hit him overall. They also said that he still had a live round in his gun when he died.
Another thing that is a little weird... The property where he swerved right and crashed into the chain link fence is a corner lot and just around the corner on the other street - on the same property - is a big yellow DEAD END sign!
I took Marina for her celebratory dinner tonight and we had a very nice meal... I've gotten my extra copies of my new book this week also, so we have more than one thing to celebrate...
After we returned home Marina proceeded to water the plants in the yard and I took a walk down to the scene of the shootout where we had an unexpected turn of events.
It turns out that the viewing for Antonio Magdaleno was today and some of his friends and a friend of his mother's had gathered at the site afterwards and I had an opportunity to meet them, including his friend who had been in the SUV with him when the chase began. His friend told me that when he got out of the SUV, the deputies had not been firing at them yet, which was a good thing, because otherwise he would have been afraid to get out for fear of being shot out of hand. As it was, he was talking with his uncle on his cel phone as he got out of the vehicle, making sure that he knew where he was and was still talking to him when the deputies forced him down to the ground and frisked him for weapons, taking his wallet and phone in the process.
Fortunately, his phone and wallet were returned to him when the Sheriff's office released him. He thought he had a bit more money to begin with, but, everything considered, he considers himself lucky to have gotten out when he did and not to have died with Antonio.
I talked with Antonio's mother's friend, Maria, for a while also. She said that the coroner's office had told his mother to expect a closed coffin because of the extent of the damage done to him. However, the funeral home specializes in reconstruction and they were able to have an open casket for the viewing after all, so that was one small blessing in what has been a very bad week...
She's still not sure whether the police killed him or he killed himself.
She was also wondering how his gun could have wound up on top of the SUV. That was one question that I could give her the answer to, because the first thing that the first cop to get to him is going to do is make sure that his weapon is where he can't reach it. THEN they'll check to see if he's still alive!
I haven't heard anything more for a couple of days, but I will be curious to see the report for whatever investigation is taking place.
We have gone from the initial impresion that the police had run down some major criminals, possibly armed with automatic weapons to the realization that it was a scared 21 year old who was deathly afraid of going to jail and who had a semiautomatic pistol.
He used bad judgment in firing the weapon and running from the police, but evidently his aim was as bad as his judgment and he never hit or hurt anyone. However, he paid the ultimate price when he was gunned down by at least 21 police officer's concentrated fire.
In the light of what I've learned, I'm very interested to learn if this was a case of "mob mentality" taking over the pursuing police officers. Were they so obsessed with controlling the situation that they lost control of themselves? THAT is a tough problem for the police psychiatrists to evaluate and I look forward to hearing their conclusions.
Almost six months since my last entry on this page and I've heard no answers to any of the questions that I posed...
I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose - Then again, I can't possibly see every news story that reaches print or the broadcast studio. If anybody has any information to supplement this story, they can con tact me -
Copyright . Karl Stuart Kline. All rights reserved.