Schedule post has been derailed in favor of a story.
It just sounded like an argument, a shouting match without violence. But then the woman let out three sharp, chilling screams. One, two, three. Either she was terrified or she was trying to get the neighbors involved. Either way…
Micah picked up his phone and raised an eyebrow at me. I nodded and he quietly called 911. He explained that the argument had been going on for five or ten minutes but now a woman had screamed and we were worried. The dispatcher took our building info and let him go.
I was relieved but also slightly concerned in case this whole thing was a misunderstanding. But then the screaming started again, not 3 piercing ones but intermittently.
The police were here in under 5 minutes, maybe 3. There’s a station about 5 minutes drive away (perhaps less) and there were probably cars even closer.
We heard them running up the stairs, the fight was still going on and she screamed a few times. We couldn’t tell them which apartment, but it must have been evident from inside the stairwell. They began beating on the door and yelling for him to open up “Police!”
At this point, I grabbed my computer and dove for the corner in the living room where our couches meet. On the offchance that someone started shooting, any bullets would have to go through some walls and couches first. I started tweeting because I wanted to escape, for some part of me to be free. I felt trapped in the apartment.
Micah came over and held me. He said it reminded him of the time he was 14 and their home was broken into. He had to call 911 before hiding his siblings (and himself, they were home alone). And then keep the toddler quiet until the police got there.
They didn’t have to break down the door. The man apparently opened it and we heard running. Our door is just at the top of the stairs and that’s where they caught him. Slammed him into it. We could hear it shaking (though fortunately deadbolted) as they told him to put his hands behind his head. We heard a metallic clink of what must have been cuffs.
Then everything got muffled. No more shouting and yelling, just conversation. The door still shook, I don’t know who was leaning on it…the man or an officer. Eventually they took him out and away in their cars. The building was eerily quiet after all the noise.
We have no idea what the situation was. If it was between the residents of that apartment, we’ve never heard anything loud from them before. Perhaps it was someone visiting, a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.
As we got ready for bed, coming down from the adrenaline, I mentioned my blog post about saving money by living in a lower-income area. And that what happened wasn’t related to where we live. It was clearly a fight between two people who already had some relationship. A fight that escalated.
Abuse, domestic violence, and dysfunctional relationships aren’t limited to any demographic (neither are drugs and murder). As long as we were in an apartment building or condo situation this was going to be a possibility. Even in a house, it’s still possibly to hear particularly loud things happening at your neighbors.
Later on, I learned that the man wasn’t actually the one at fault—though that’s the cultural assumption. The woman is his ex-wife and she broke into our building through the laundry room window. Since then, the management has refused to reinstall the window and has just boarded it up in case she comes again. She also slashed his tires. The particular neighbor seems like a sane guy, so his assertions combined with the fact that she broke a window trying to get in makes me believe him on this one.