(UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: “John Burch, this is the Roanoke City Police. We have a warrant for your arrest. Come to the front door with your hands held high.” A flurry of fireworks went off just before police told the man their are confronting four doors down from my house to give himself up. We’ve had a spate of firework shows for the past couple of weeks at this time, but tonight’s sounded like a shootout.)
I had noticed police activity outside my house since about 2 p.m. today and early on when I went outside to roll up my car windows against a sudden rain, a young officer zipped over and asked what I was doing. I told her and she said to go ahead and close the windows but to get back in the house and not to leave unless I meant to stay gone for the day.
I’m curious, but I was tired and mostly disinterested. By 4:15 my interest had increased as I saw some cops in battle gear walking by my windows and the same group on the top of my hill (and at the bottom as well). So, I pulled out my press card and went up to the officers on the hill with questions.
The young woman who stopped me asked if I lived close and I pointed to my house two doors away (we had talked earlier, but I must not have made much of an impression). I handed her my card and asked what was going on; I said she could answer me as a journalist or a resident. Made no dif, but I’l like to know if there was some danger.
Apparently, there is. A guy about four doors down from me (whom I have never met) had barricaded himself in his house with an AR-15 and a shotgun, the young officer said, and the situation was dangerous and unstable. She wanted me to either get on the other side of the police tape and join the journalists or go back to my house. I did both, talking to the reporters for a few minutes, then going back home 30 yards away. She walked me back to the house. I asked if she wanted to hold my hand. She said no.
This will likely go on for a while and I think I’ll just stay inside.