SWAT on Midvale & Venice


While making some excellent apricot/garlic/rosemary roasted chicken last night at around 7:45, The fiance walked in the door and announced that Venice was shut down from Overland to Sepulveda and cops in paramilitary gear were marching the block. We quickly ran over to neighbor Mikey's pad (my old pad) to get a better view of the action. It was like being in a cross between A Dog's Day Afternoon and The Hurt Locker. The popo were focusing in on the second apartment building (the green one) east of Girard on the south side of Venice. When we first started our long evening of lookylooism, there were a bunch of Culver City cops and the Sheriff's Department was just pulling up. They'd set up a perimeter and were evacuating surrounding apartments. Not much seemed to be happening, so we went home to eat drumsticks.

After dinner, we noticed that a huge crowd had gathered on our corner, so we popped back over to Mikey's to see what we could see. Two SWAT trucks had pulled up onto Venice. There were two more with their lights out on Girard. . The Venice ones were in front of the green building. One started creeping up onto the sidewalk with four SWAT dudes hiding behind it with weapons drawn. At around 9:15, the sunroof (obviously not what it was) on the SWAT truck still on Venice popped up and a sniper climbed out of it and got into position. You gotta realize the view we had. We could see directly into the courtyard of the building and directly into the back of both SWAT trucks. We think the cops never noticed us because everyone else on the whole block (both sides of Venice) had been evacuated but us. So, while the sniper was in position on top of the one truck, three SWAT dudes jumped up onto the top of other truck (the one on the sidewalk) and climbed onto the roof. With weapons drawn. On Venice. In front of my face. They proceeded to creep up the roof to the second story apartment on the west side of the building. Two of them kept watch while the other one popped the screen out of a window and jumped inside. A minute later, he started helping three little girls (oldest was prolly 8) out of the window. Then came a woman on crutches and another dude. They were escorted off the roof and onto the top of the sidewalk SWAT truck. We thought they were hostages at that point (we couldn't tell which apartment the drama was coming from), but they just turned out to be neighbors who couldn't come downstairs because that's where the drama was.

This was getting gooooood! I ran back to grab my camera, but I never found it (LAME). There wasn't much action after the roof family for about an hour. Neighbor Mikey went downstairs to see if the news wanted to film out of his room. They were going to, but they couldn't run a cable up our stairs far enough for the camera. Too bad, because the shot Live From Mikey's Room was effing raw. I have never seen so many cops with huge (I mean HUGE) guns before. Did I mention the bomb dog? Yeah.

Not much happened for the next hour except for my knees starting to hurt from my position kneeling halfway out the window. We all took a smoke break and came back to our perches just in time to see the SWAT dudes start to pull some crazy-huge cases out of the back of the truck. They began to assemble something large and scary looking while the sniper kept his spot. We could see that it was some sort of weapon that looked an awful lot like a grenade launcher. That sh*t was HUGE. While they finished setting up the weapon of mass defucktion up, the world's worst crisis negotiator got on the loudspeaker. "RODNEY WILSON, WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED. CAN YOU PLEASE COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP AND YOUR SHIRT OFF. WE AREN'T LEAVING TIL YOU COME OUT." (duh) this was repeated in various forms while ol' Rodney screamed back at them inaudibly. "RODNEY, I HEAR YOU YELLING BUT I CAN'T HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. WE PUT A PHONE AT YOUR BACK DOOR. CAN YOU GO GET IT SO WE CAN TALK TO YOU PLEASE?" And then we made out Rodney yelling "HELL NAW FOOL". Negotiator dude was being waaay too polite in my humble opinion. So they were doing the loudspeaker shuffle for about 45 minutes. It was obviously going nowhere (but it was super dramatic and exciting to listen to), so they pulled out the big guns... literally. We see three of the SWAT dudes holding this huge weapon and then seven loud shots (not bullets... tear gas). The gas was working but our pal Rodney still didn't want to come out. He was screaming about the gas and the negotiator told him more was coming if he didn't surrender. A few minutes later, Rodney came out his door and was tackled by about five SWAT guys.

We had been assuming that Rod (nicknames are awesome) had killed his dad, but after they cuffed him to the sounds of neighbors yelling choruses of "It's about fucking time, Rodney!", no paramedics rushed into the house. According to the LA Times blurb that Malky sent me this morning, the cops had been called and heard a bunch of shots when they arrived and then the dad ran out yelling that his son was trying to kill him.

This morning, I went to the liquor store to grab one of those Starbucks in a bottle coffee thingies that I'm completely addicted to. I was talking to the chick that works there about what had happened and some more bananas shit happened. I could see this super- cracky neighbor woman walking perfectly calmly across Venice Blvd (not at the intersection) towards the liquor store- cool as a cucumber. As soon as she crossed the threshold of the store her hands shot up above her head, she stared moaning and - no joke- running around the store screaming "They got my baby! They got my baby!" and telling the liquor store clerk and I that she had been at the grocery store when it went down and that her son was innocent and that they almost killed him. Then she took a breath, bought a tall can of Bud and walked out like nothing happened. She said she was supposed to be staying at a hotel because of the tear gas, but she just wanted to drink her beer in peace at home. Dude, she was full of crap. I understand that it was her son and this was all probably incredibly traumatic, but Rodney walked out of his house unhurt and totally coherent. I don't love cops, but I watched for hours as they did everything they could have to NOT hurt anyone- and they succeeded.

Everything is back to normal around here and there's no evidence of what occurred last night, but it goes to show that you never really know what's going on behind your neighbors' walls. And that's all I have to say about that.

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