Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The story of a pastor caught in the crossfire of the Watertown shootout

Last Friday, at about 12:40 A.M., my wife Emily and I awoke in our bedroom to a sudden, loud pop. This was followed by several more pops. They sounded like fireworks to us. When Emily looked out the window, she saw an orange gun flash and a bunch of commotion. Immediately we dropped to the ground, with our dog, Taco. She handed me her phone and said, “Call 911!” All the while, the gunshots kept coming.

The 911 operators told there was a car chase and gunfight in progress. I told the operator our home address and hung up the phone to get to cover. I realized, This is happening right outside our windows. We were in immense danger, so I looked at my wife and said, “Emily, we have to get out of this bedroom.”

Taking Taco by his collar, we crawled from our bedroom through the hallway into our kitchen. As we inched through the hallway, the gunshots sounded closer and we saw an explosion—a bright flash—through our front door window. There was a much louder and thicker boom, and we heard glass shatter. People outside our home were screaming frantically at each other. I shouted, “Get under the kitchen table!” We needed to get away from the windows into a safer place.

As we got under the kitchen table, the gunshots continued, and I put my arms around my wife. We held onto our dog together. We were trapped, with active gunfire on three sides of our home. I was terrified; things were completely out of our control. There was nothing I could do to save us. I looked at my wife and said, “Emily, I love you,” and then I prayed:
God, thank you for the life you’ve given us together. Thank you for your grace. Oh God, protect us. Jesus, we need you. Save us! You’re our only hope. Please surround us with your angels. Protect our neighbors, and show them your grace.

After several long minutes under the kitchen table, things got a little quieter outside. We crawled down the hallway into the bathroom, and the three of us got into our antique bathtub. It seemed like the safest place to be. Every other room in our home had windows on all sides, and we weren’t sure if there would be more gunfire or explosions.

We stayed in the bathtub for about 30 minutes. Then the police came by our home to check on us, knocking on the front door until I opened it.

As the police worked their way through our home, we were amazed by what they showed us. We learned that seven bullets had hit our home, and one had hit our SUV. Of the bullets that hit our home, one had penetrated our living room wall, passed through a picture, and lodged in our television, keeping it out of the bedroom. Many of the other bullets had hit the outside wall of our bedroom, around the window, but had not come through. We were told that one of the bullets had gone into our upstairs neighbors’ apartment, narrowly missing the bunk beds where their children were sleeping.

When we looked outside, we saw carnage. Bullets and shell casings were everywhere. It was like nothing we’d ever seen. Our normally safe home and neighborhood had turned into a warzone. Police and military began setting up a base on our street. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of officers and vehicles around us. The police in our home said they would be disarming explosives outside and instructed us to stay low in our kitchen and away from windows and doors.

We were overwhelmingly grateful to be alive, and grateful that God had answered our prayers. But we were left confused, exhausted, terrified, and unsure of what might happen next. The whole experience was terrifying and utterly unexpected, like a nightmare. We spent the entire day, into the evening, on lockdown in our home as we waited for authorities to apprehend the terrorist who’d escaped the gunfight outside our home. We spent much of the time praying for our neighbors and city. We reached out and shared our story with as many people as possible to challenge others to share our hope in Jesus.

excerpt from an article in Out of Ur        Click here to read the entire story