Thursday, February 23, 2012

Leaving Memorials When a Tragedy Happens.

After the shootings of the police officers across from my church on Jackson Avenue in Ogden there was a bunch of stuff left by people  as a memorial or something.  It was left on the steps on the church property that lead down the hill to the road.  It was candles and plants and so forth.  The candles burned down to a bunch of wax.  Some of the glass containers broke and broken glass was all over.  The plants died and they were just pots of ugly dead plants left behind.  The stuffed animals got wet and dirty and frozen.  They didn't belong to anyone, so no one took them home.

It is winter time.  The stuff got frozen to the ground and made a hazard for those who use those stairs.

I am not sure who left this stuff, but I am guessing it was people that are not from our neighborhood.  I know they wanted to do something because they felt bad, but they came into our neighborhood and left stuff for us to clean up.

The candles and plants did not make me feel better, but the trash that was left that our neighborhood had to clean up made me feel worse.

The stuff was left on private property and the owners of the stuff took no responsibility for them.

I can appreciate that people wanted to do something nice, but I don't understand littering as a gift.  If you want to leave something nice, then come back in a few days and clean up the mess.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Police Shot on Jackson Avenue, Ogden, Utah January 4, 2012

We are almost into the fifth week of CSI being up at the house at the top of the hill from us where a police officer was shot and killed and several other injured Wednesday January 4, 2012.

My entire family had been downstairs in our basement hanging out.  Our two youngest children decided to go upstairs to play.  They immediately came back down and said there were police cars in front of the house.  We slowly went up to see what the deal was.  People get traffic tickets every so often in front of the neighbors house and people fly down the hill to the stop sign near our house, so we figure it was something related to that.  Although, there have been several break ins in the neighborhood over the last three years we have lived here.

We even had a guy run through our back yard after stealing a car stereo one year.  A police detective came by after that to talk to us about what we had seen.  We were in bed at the time.  I think my eight year old son had said that he had seen someone moving in the back yard.  We have cats and dogs roaming all over the place, so I told him to go back to bed, since he said they were gone.  I installed security lights shortly after that.

On the night of the shootings when we got upstairs we could see the police cars and it appeared there were more at the top of the hill to the south of us.  A moment later we heard what I thought could've been firecrackers.  I don't deal with firearms much, so the sounds are foreign to me and fireworks are the only frame of reference I have.  We have people in our neighborhood being loud with fireworks on occasion, but it is generally localize to around Pioneer Day and the 4th of July, since if it starts a little early and goes a little long.  With as many police cars as there were I figured it was probably gun fire, but I couldn't get my head around it, since I have never been around something like this.

A few minutes later what sounded like more firecrackers, but with a steady pattern.  I was pretty sure that was definitely gun fire.

I texted people in my church congregation who live on nearby streets to let them know what I was seeing and hearing.  They said they were seeing stuff being reported on TV.  One of the people in my congregation gave me the address.  It appeared that it was the house right next to another member of our congregation.  I called the father in the family to see if they were ok.

He said they were hunkered down in the basement, staying away from windows, but wasn't sure what was happening.  I asked him if he had ever had trouble with the neighbor, whose house the action seemed to be coming from.  He said that they had not.  I figured they would be being flooded with calls, so I quickly got off the phone with him.

A guy from church stopped by after work to check on us and watch the excitement.

The police had blocked off Jackson Avenue just south of Chatelain.  But they did not block off Goddard, which is the next street to the south and right at the crime scene.  Cars were coming into the area and the police had to turn their back on the crime scene where gun fire was happening to get the cars safely out of there.  It seems like they should've blocked all of the streets around our church, which was right next to the action.  The police were using the church's parking lot as a base of operations, so not sure why they didn't block the streets.  We had tons of police spectating from in front of our house.  It seems like they could've been mobilized to block those streets.

A friend from church a day or so later said that he worked for KSL and his colegues were looking for neighbors to interview.  I told him to have them give a call as to when they wanted to do it and I would be willing.  They called while we were hiking in the mountain and said they were at my door.  I told them I would be home in a couple of hours, but wasn't sure that would make their deadline.  She said that it would not meet their deadline and they had talked to several people.  She asked me a few quick questions on the phone to assess if there was anything different that I witnessed.

Update 25 Apr 2012
This morning the CSI was up there again this morning.  At least two vehicles for twenty minutes or so.

I have heard that the family of Matthew Stewart, the shooter, have tried to go maintain the house and have gotten hassle, since it is still a crime scene.  How long are they allowed to lock down a property as a crime scene?

Update 15 Jun 2012
I went for a bike ride with my son tonight and we say several police cars and a couple of CSI vehicles in front of the house where the shooting took place again.

It appears that someone broke into the house.  It seems less than bright to break into a high profile house like that.

Someone commented to me recently that there has been people walking the streets around that way that appear to be part of gangs at five in the morning.  I'm not sure what to think of that.