Inner City Diary
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Hanging Up on the 911 Operator...
May 16, 2004
“What kind of minister are you? I’m gonna f______ kill you,” he said as he reached into his jacket.

It’s been about almost two hours since I phoned 911 and told them to get some help over here because it looked like the situation was escalating.

I had responded to a call from a friend. Two guys had crashed a car through a new fence in our neighbourhood. I got a ride to the scene from a friend and we blocked the getaway path of the car.

Looking closer, I realized the car wouldn’t be going anywhere, but saw the two guys who had been in the car. Both well over 30 years of age, they were obviously intoxicated. And they were  looking to find a way to remove the car and/or themselves from the scene.

I got on the phone to 911 while standing near the smashed fence. As the operator answered the phone, the guy trying to clear fence debris from the car wheels looked up at me.

The operator asked why I was calling, I informed her that I was at the scene of an accident and the intoxicated people driving the car were trying to get away. 

As one of the drunks approached me, she asked me the address. I tried to give her an accurate location, concentrating on the guy coming toward me. Next she asked for my phone number and I complied.

The guy was pretty much in my face at this point. I heard her saying, “Hold on, sir. I’ll transfer you to the police.” I was thinking this guy was looking like he might like to transfer me…

I walked away a bit from the guy. It was pretty frustrating as the police operator asked all the same questions over again.

At this point the other guy started getting agitated with me. He approached from the other direction. I could tell this was going to get worse before it got better.

The emergency operator wanted to continue chatting. I told her to do everybody a favor and just get some cops over here quickly. “The guys are both here, and it looks like there’s a confrontation developing.”

The more agitated guy was getting in my face now. I’m sure she could hear the guy in the background. Figuring I might need both hands to defend myself, I told the emergency operator I had to hang up. Before I hung up she said she’d be sending someone right away.

After I hung up, the guy got even more agitated. “Who the hell are you?”

I explained that I was a minister, and I was just calling the cops. I hadn’t touched anyone, hadn’t called them names or anything like that.

Two things were becoming very evident. He was several bottles beyond logic and his questions would likely continue to be rhetorical.

It seemed nothing I said made a difference. His tone became more deliberate. As he reached inside his jacket, he yelled, “I could waste you. I’m gonna kill you, man.”

Looking at the jacket I could tell there was something of substance where he was reaching. I glanced hopefully up and down the street, figuring maybe the cops would get here before he got his hand out of his jacket.

At this point his friend came over and tried to tell his friend to “Leave it alone. Let’s go.”

The angry guy and I continue to share some words.

I wasn’t angry enough to try and stop him. And I wasn’t exactly sure what he had in that pocket.

I figured I had called 911, and they would be here before the guys got very far. The guys kept walking.

They cut through the back lane, went to 7-11 and eventually got into Duffy cab number 375. I took note of the time and figured I’d pass it on to the cops.

But they’re still not here.

I’m not putting blame on anyone – except the guys who drove through the fence. I’m not blaming the cops. I’m assuming the operator did her job. I’m assuming the police were busy. Eventually they’ll get here and maybe take a report.

But maybe later, I’ll be busy. Maybe I’ll tell them they can read my report in the Sunday Sun…
Copyright 2004
Rev. Harry Lehotsky
Rev. Harry Lehotsky is Director of New Life Ministries, a community ministry in the inner-city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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New Life Ministries
514 Maryland Street
Winnipeg, Mb R3G 1M5
(204) 775-4929