Last Thursday night, Sofia and I snuck into the boys’ room about an hour after we put them down. I lit up the room with the screen from my phone. I went over to Henry. Sofia went over to Noah. We pulled back the covers on them and shined the light over their PJs. We held our hands to their chests to make sure they were breathing. They were both perfectly fine…and a little annoyed at us for disturbing their sleep.
A few minutes before that, Sofia and I were laying in our own bed. Sofia had just gotten her phone after 26 days of fighting with Google to get them to replace her broken one. In those 26 days, I had sent her at least a hundred videos on TikTok (I know), Now that she had her phone, she could finally watch them. We were both tired so we curled up and watched them together. We were about halfway through the last video when we were interrupted.
The sound of gunfire is distinct. From afar you may mistake it for fireworks or a car backfiring. But up close, those three sounds are very distinct. So when the sound of about 7 gunshots erupted in the street directly in front of our house, we knew what it was instantly. We rolled off the bed, but it was already over. I peaked out the window just in time to see an old green pickup not 20 feet from our front door. It drove off.
Sofia came around and handed me the phone that was dialing 911. I stayed on the line and answered their questions until the police arrived. When they arrived I went outside and met a few of the neighbors After talking with the police officer, I went back inside. Sofia and I both agreed that the likelihood of stray bullets getting to the back of the house where the kids sleep was low. But not zero. So we went in and checked.
That’s something I never want to have to do again. The boys will never know until they find this post or I tell them the story in 15-20 years. But the idea that it happened so close to them and that they were in danger of gun violence is absolutely terrifying. It was a year ago that our car was stolen. Although that felt violating, it was not a violent crime. This is different. This struck fear into me, my wife, and my neighbors.
After verifying that the kids were okay, I went back out and talked with all of the neighbors and made sure everyone was accounted for. As I talked with everyone, the full story came into view. There were two trucks going in opposite directions in front of our house. As they passed each other–the green truck shot at the blue truck. The blue truck hit the gas and hit a parked car across the street from us before taking off. Then the green truck took off–which is what I saw.
The full picture made me less terrified. The initial fear I had was that a truck was driving around and shooting at houses. As the cops did the rounds at the nearby houses and cars, they found no bullets in any of them. So no stray bullets. We may never find out what happened. Road rage? Feud? And that’s okay.
The fact that my neighborhood was not involved, but just the location, doesn’t strip away the safety I feel. I love my neighbors. I love my neighborhood. Hilltop is a community with culture. That is part of why Sofia loves working at the coffee shop at the center of it all. This place is amazing. Assholes will not ruin it for the rest of us.