PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — In all of my visits to interview law enforcement authorities for articles, never did I imagine the tables would one day be turned.
But there I stood in the lobby of the Santa Monica Police Department on a Friday night, filing a report and answering questions describing every detail of an incident that had just made me the victim of a crime for the first time.
It wasn’t sexual assault, a mugging or even a car theft. No, this was a petty offense, a case that will probably go cold, and then freeze.
Simply put, I was shot in the head with a BB gun by a drive-by assailant while standing outside of The Counter with a group of friends while waiting to be seated.
Why am I writing a column about something that didn’t cause major bodily harm?
Because I consider myself to be very lucky to have been facing away from the street at that moment, getting hit on the back of my head and not my face, and thankfully, not my eyes.
I want the guilty party or anyone who is ever thinking of committing a similar seemingly innocent act to understand just how lucky I am that I was not facing the street, because I could have easily been. I want them to know that my friend, who was also hit in the back, was very lucky she wasn’t facing the street either.
Both she and I are lucky that the worst injuries we suffered were a 10-minute sting and a bruise from the impact.
The perpetrators should know that they’re lucky nobody was seriously injured. The next time, they and their shooting target might not be.
The incident took place around 8 p.m. on May 1. My friends and I were talking about how the L.A. Angels had just blown a frustrating game, losing a five run lead to the N.Y. Yankees, when I heard a shot, then felt a painful shock in my head.
I was a bit disoriented, confused about what had just happened when I heard someone say something about a pellet or BB gun. Another group of customers who were also waiting outside said the shots came from a white sport utility vehicle, possibly a Toyota 4Runner, that was driving south on 29th Street, fired some shots, and then turned west on Ocean Park Boulevard.
The police officer who took my report, which I filed in case the department would hear about any other similar cases that night, told me that these kind of occurrences are common this time of year.
Rene Talbott, a juvenile investigator with the SMPD, said in an interview on Thursday that most kids’ interest in such weapons start out innocently, working on shooting static targets. For some, the focus eventually shifts to moving targets, needing more of a challenge. In this case, they’ll usually look for a small animal to shoot, he said.
Adults with BB guns will typically shoot car windows or store fronts to shatter the glass.
The incident did not have a lasting impact on my night. I still enjoyed a nice carne asada burger at The Counter. But I still can’t help but wonder what if.
You see, while it might not seem like such a big deal now that the bruise and stinging pain are both long gone, those thrilling 10 seconds for the shooters could have been at my costly expense.
And while this column might read like a rant, understand that your actions, even if they might seem harmless, could have very dire consequences.
For anyone with a white SUV in their household, check to see if there’s a BB gun in the car. And if there is, be very suspicious of where it was last Friday night.