We just had a shooting down the street. I was putting the kids down when our apartment was filled with the sound of gunfire. It was so loud and there were so many shots: more than I have ever heard here before. Aaron started to scream from his crib and I raced into his room to make sure that he was okay and to pick him up and comfort him. I was trying to keep Mercy in one place, away from the windows, but she was confused and scared and followed me to get Aaron.
When I got into the kids’ room, I saw my neighbor whose windows are feet away from ours race to hers and pull back her curtains. Then I heard the scream. One of my other neighbors from next door, a young single mom, came running out of the fourplex, screaming her nine-year old son’s name. She ran so fast and never stopped calling for him, and I saw her find him at the end of the street across from where the bullets flew. Before she got to him, she started screaming for him to run home, arms waving wildly in the air.
By now, the helicopters were close overhead, and the cruisers had come to the scene in what seemed like seconds. Everyone was coming out of their doors and onto the street, straining to see what was going on.
I found my cell phone and called our V2LA organizer. The group was at Papa Cristos for dinner, but they were scheduled to be arriving at the tutoring center any minute for their evening time of worship and teaching. The shooting took place just feet away from the center’s front door.
Doug is leading worship for a Los Angeles Urban Project (LAUP) event, so I am home alone. While grateful that my guests were not here for this, I keep having to fight back tears and I don’t want to be alone. I can’t shake the image of my neighbor running, and I keep hearing her scream her son’s name in my head. My kids are safe as is her son, but it is moments like this when the terror comes and it feels like more than I can bear.