This is a post, I intended to write before Christmas. After visiting family, eating my bodyweight in holiday pie and slipping in and out of a tryptophan induced coma, it has been somewhat delayed. You know what they say…better late than never!
The Christmas holiday season is a time of giving thanks and spending time with your family. It means meeting with family you only see once or twice a year and enjoying a turkey drumstick, stockings full of goodies and the magical twinkle of Christmas tree lights…and maybe using the serving fork to stab your boyfriend during a Christmas domestic!
Christmas can actually be one of the most dangerous times of the year. Stressors like, financial problems, free-flowing alcohol, and being cooped up with in-laws and family members who may not see eye to eye, can all lead to an overflow of emotions. This means for the police it is a very busy time of year and job security is strong!
Domestic Homicides rise as much as 25% in December…
My first serious Christmas domestic was just a few months out of the academy. My FTO and I responded to a “suspicious person.” A neighbor called to report a young asian female in her 20’s walking down the road. Nothing too suspicious there I think. I mentally shake my head at what people call 911 about. While en route the dispatcher updated the call and advised the reporting party felt it was strange because the woman was walking “Woodenly, like a zombie” and was making weird moaning and keening sounds while sobbing and was covered in blood up to her elbows.
Okay, I thought. That IS suspicious. We drive to the area and start checking for the unknown asian female. After a few minutes of looking we find her. She’s maybe 5′ tall, 90 pounds soaking wet, wearing a t-shirt and no jacket in 20 degree weather. She was shuffling along strangely with her hands held limply in front of her chest like a t-rex. Her hands were covered in blood up to the elbows and her tear streaked face showed “signs of emotional distress.”
I walk up to the woman and ask her what is going on. She is blubbering and sobbing so hysterically that I can’t make out anything she’s saying. It also doesn’t help that she is extremely drunk. I ask her if she’s injured and she just shakes her head, “No.” I advise radio and ask them to start fire, because somebody is injured.
After a few frustrating minutes, I manage to make out that her name is April and she is walking from her boyfriend’s house. When asked what the address is, she hiccups and retched and is unable or unwilling to tell me. She also doesn’t know his phone number and doesn’t have her cell phone on her. Even as a new guy, I roll my eyes at this. I’m getting a bit frustrated and ask where the blood came from. I’m told it is her boyfriend’s. When asked why he was bleeding April blurts, “He didn’t give me a ring and then I stabbed him!” She then goes back to sobbing and blubbering nonsensical strings of words that go nowhere towards formulating a coherent thought.
Her behavior leaves “crazy” alarm bells instead of Santa’s sleigh bells ringing in my head. Since the young lady apparently stuck something pointy into her boyfriend’s body, presumably against his will, little Miss hysterical was no longer free to go. I advised April of her Miranda rights. After she waived her rights, I asked if she was willing to show me where her boyfriend lives. She agrees and after a quick pat search for weapons, I load her up in the back of the car and follow her directions to the house.
Upon arriving at the boyfriend’s house, I hear thumping and crashing and yelling from inside. I ask my cover unit to step it up until I know what is going on and pound on the door, trying my best to be suitably authoritative and serious while wondering what kind of goat rope is to be found inside. Nobody comes to the door for a minute and I look through a gap in the drapes to the living room inside. The room could be described as having “Evidence of a disturbance.” There were broken Christmas tree ornaments on the floor and what appeared to be a trail of blood from the kitchen towards the back of the house.
After a few moments a 20 something year old female runs up to the door. She’s obviously drunk and very distraught. I ask where, “Jim” is and who else is in the house. She hurried me to the back of the house while babbling, “April just went crazy and stabbed Jim while we were eating Christmas dinner! She was drunk and pissed that he didn’t buy her a ring for Christmas!” She leads me to the bathroom where “Jim” was leaning over the sink. His shirt was off and he had a very bloody towel held to his chest. His friend was applying pressure and yelling that they needed to bring him to the hospital. Jim was violently shaking his head “No” and kept mumbling about not wanting April to get in trouble. I ask what Jim was stabbed with and the guy holding the towel nods towards the bathtub. Sitting on the edge of the tub is one of those large (and sharp) two-pronged serving forks. It has blood and what appears to be little bits of tissue on the prongs about an inch up the blades. I request fire expedite for at least one pretty serious stab wound to the chest.
From there it was a matter of trying to talk to each subject involved; deal with the drunk witnesses screaming and failing to provide coherent information; ignore the barking dog that was racing through the house; photograph the injuries and evidence; collect all applicable evidence; get recorded statements; avoid letting the fire department destroy all evidence before it can be documented; get the medical release form signed; take the female into custody and generally multitask a dozen different things simultaneously. In all…just another Christmas day on patrol.
Ever since my first Christmas day on patrol, I look forward to whatever new and freakish situation will present itself on the holidays. It isn’t usually as busy on Christmas with overall call volume, but the calls you do get can often be much worse than the garden variety husband and wife domestic. The kind where one of them acts like a jackass and the other slaps or pushes them and gets hauled off to jail…nothing fancy or complicated there. As busy as working Christmas can be, it doesn’t even compare to the 4th of July. Now THAT is crazy!
Also published on Medium.