Come Out With Your Hands Up!
By Sled Smith
I was working the north end one evening with, Drew Rusnak, who was my current trainee. He was fairly new and hadn’t experienced very much as yet. We got a Burglar Alarm call at a body shop located with one side on Firestone Boulevard the other on Manchester Place just off Alameda. During my time at Firestone this alarm went off frequently. I had never observed any live human being inside the fenced yard or the central paint and equipment building. As far as I knew the primary source of the alarm were motion detection beams across the yard at various locations. I had observed a number of cats and numerous birds in the yard but none of them were worthy of booking. Most of them were not subjected to a trip to the gray bar. This because most were not adequately qualified to intelligently answer the questions asked from the admonition card carried in our notebooks to waive their right to an attorney before answering any of our questions.
Because Drew was relatively new I stopped in front and dropped him off to cover any attempt by suspects to leave the scene over the front gate just as we were taught at the academy. I then drove around to the back of the yard located on Manchester Place. I parked the unit across the street with the front end facing south toward the yard. Then just for the purpose of being theatrical I turned on the PA system with the volume turned all the way up. I took a deep breath and stated in my most officious loud voice, “This is Inspector Erskine of the FBI, we know you’re in there, surrender yourselves and come out at once with your hands up”. Almost simultaneously, Bill Bernsen, and his partner, Mark Milburn, came driving westbound on Manchester Place toward my location. They had apparently heard my demand for the suspects to surrender. Suddenly there came this loud broadcast from their PA system with a believable German accent. “You vill give up at vonce or you vill be shot!” and was repeated once again.
Suddenly there was a call for all units to respond, a 918 V armed with shots fired somewhere way up in the north end. Bernsen and Milburn roared by me and took off west on Firestone Boulevard. I immediately pulled away from the curb and turned to drive to the front of the body shop. It was just getting dusk as I pulled up in front I saw Drew crouched down with his flashlight turned on extended to his side at arms length in his left hand. As I stopped I observed him to have his revolver in his right hand extended forward toward the yard aiming through the fence. To my absolute total surprise there were two young black men walking in a file in step with their hands held high as possible. I had absolutely no idea these two guys were inside that place. They approached the fence and I told them to climb over the gate. When they did I put each one on the ground and handcuffed them. I then placed them in the rear seat of our unit and arranged my booking gear so it was between them on the seat with the micro cassette recorder on record.
Drew asked me, “How in God’s name are we going to write this one up?” I told him that it would reflect just exactly as it happened. Deputy Smith dropped deputy Rusnak off to cover the front of the business. Deputy Smith then drove to the rear of the location in an attempt to determine if there was anyone inside at the location. After a period of search and observation deputy Smith sensed the presence of the suspects inside the location. He then made a verbal demand that them to surrender themselves and they complied. The suspects were arrested then transported to and book at Firestone Station.
It was incredible to listen to what theses two guys had to say to each other about what they were doing in there on the tape. This was just your standard culmination of a training exercise in the most ordinary positive way. The sort of thing that happens day in and day out at good old Firestone.