Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pistol Shots Ring Out in the Barroom Night

March Madness came to Bleecker Street a night early this year.

It was almost 9:30 on a balmy Wednesday night, and I sat on my couch nearly finished with a Levon Helm Band preview post for Hidden Track that's Tourney Blog could link to for a story on Pitt forward Levon Kendall. I had just uploaded a few tracks for the site when I clearly heard what could only be multiple gunshots. I wouldn't even say "multiple" -- it was more like an assload. At least 10, as many as 20. Crazy. Dare I say: craisins.

I live in a noisy, debaucherous neighborhood, and drunken amateurs set off illegal fireworks on occasion, but these were gunshots, unequivocally. I hopped right out the window and onto the fire escape as soon as I could compute what was happening, and within three to five minutes at least 30 police units of all shapes and sizes (unmarked cars, big vans, paddy wagons, motorcycles, horses, a helicopter) swarmed to my apartment. Within 10, nearly every cop in the city had mobilized on Bleecker street. You could steal City Hall.

I jumped back in to grab my camera, having no real knowledge of what had just transpired but wanting to document the incredible happenings on my normally safe and secure street. I took this video just about 10 minutes after the gunshots I heard.

Details were shady last night, but this morning we have a bit more of the tragic story. Apparently a lone gunman walked into the pizza place a block away on Houston, and, like a true gentleman, shot an employee 15 times in the back. Verbal Kint once asked, "What if you miss?" I'm thinking 15 shots took care of that.

As he fled up the street with two guns, 100 rounds of amunition and a fake beard (Hey Lois, have you seen my fake beard?) , the gunman encountered two unarmed auxillary policeman and shot one in the head and one in the torso, killing both. He finally met his own demise outside 175 Bleecker Street -- just 100 yards away from me -- when two responding officers shot him to death.

I must hand it to the New York Police Department here. Their response time could not have been more impressive, flocking to the scene quicker than you'd ever expect. I've never seen so many cops rush to a scene so hurriedly outside of 9/11, another (obviously more catastrophic) event to which I was a little too close for comfort. If I were a Man of Cliche, I'd say "There musta been a Dunkin' Donuts going out of business sale," 'cuz they came from every direction, with the speed of a mongoose. Nay, the speed of 100 mongeese.

My apologies for the blurry pictures and choppy videos, but I couldn't concentrate too much on the lighting and I felt strange about asking the police to pose for photos. But here are a couple more shots of the incredibly eerie scene on Bleecker last night, a place known more for fratty NYU types, laid-back Europeans and the gays.

The police shut down a huge square area around the shootings, including 6th Avenue to my right. Traffic snarled. Gaper's delay.

In a weird way it felt like 9/11 for us again. Everyone on my block gathered outside in the search for details, with press reporters canvasing the area for witnesses and quotes, police roping everything off and ushering people back from a large crime scene.

We all came together to trade stories of what we heard and what we were doing, trading misinformation of what we knew and didn't know. One woman heard it was the mafia, another a barfight that spilled out of the establishment up the street, and a few reports placed this crime scene at the Lion's Den, a frequent Ace Cowboy jaunt. One thing's for sure -- nobody knew shit, but we all wanted to talk to someone instead of going back to our apartments.

Beware of the Ides of March indeed. Stay indoors, Caesar.

(It goes without saying that our warmest wishes and heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims...)

*The video in this post was also featured on Fox News*


At 9:59 AM, Blogger hoobs said...

What kind of a Timmy are you to jump outside when you hear gunshots? Haven't you seen Boys 'n the Hood? Duck and cover, man!

At 10:13 AM, Blogger bean said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:14 AM, Blogger bean said...

bravo, ace, bravo. (i am literally clapping in my head. well, i guess that's not literally clapping, but you understand.) from the 'hurricane'- referencing title, to the sharp and accurate ides reference, with the timely, first-person reporting in between, i dare say this is the perfect blog post. this post instantly made me think: Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. that was you and this post. ps - was it tacky that my first reaction, when hearing about this on the news this morning, was 'please dont say it was joe's pizza, please dont say it was joe's pizza.' i cant wait to find out what romero did to desrve this hit. b/c you dont get shot fifteen times in the back randomly. or do you?

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Jude said...

well, shit, if you could steal city hall then what say you, me and what's left of Simon Gruber give 'er a go?

...and sinker.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Phiul said...

Gaper's delay? Was Trey there?

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I figured there was no way whoever fired those shots would get me on the fire escape -- I also kind of figured the shooter was dead. But mostly I have no idea what I was thinking. I guess I just wanted to say "I report from CNN!" like those commercials tell me I can.

Thanks, Bean. I can't wait to find out what happened as well. There's definitely no such thing as a random 15 shots to the back, especially when the shooter has a fake beard. A fake beard! Wow.

Jude, love that you picked that up so easily. Great stuff.

PYITE > Gapers Block > My Soul.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Alex Fritz said...

Note to Ace, to be delivered yesterday.

Re: Something I learned a few years ago -- If you hear gunshots outside, stay inside.

But whatever, I guess. Ace has got mad street cred now, cous. Like, better than tatooing your face type cred. Holla son.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger DannyNoonan said...

Wow, you're just like Geraldo!

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Bubba said...

But how is the pizza there?

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either your auxiliary cops got some nuts, or are some nuts. Unarmed cop wannabees should know better than this. YOU DON'T CHASE A GUNMAN WHEN YOU ARE UNARMED! HELLO!!!

(but it is sad they had to die over something so stupid)

per referenced update:
The gunman then fled northbound on MacDougal Street and eastbound onto Bleecker Street. On nearby Sullivan Street, Gavin encountered the two auxiliary officers, who were unarmed volunteers.

When the auxiliary officers gave chase, Gavin crossed to the street and fired at least 23 rounds into them, Kelly said.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger HughE2030 said...

Earn cash next time, sell to Access Hollywood or CNN.

Confessions of a Paparazzi

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pizza's okay there, Bubba. But I hear they make it with Swiss cheese.

Way too soon?

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Nicky

At 8:42 PM, Blogger g said...

This was some excellent reporting, with some pretty engaging prose (as was noted above). In the "fight or flight" response question, you clearly come down on the side of "fight".
When Web 2.0 gets going, and Google, Digg, etc can send millions of targeted views to your blog, you'll make a fortune. Thanks for doing it for free this time, great reporting.


At 9:17 PM, Blogger Derek said...

Agreed. In a hail of gunfire outsde your window, first instinct should not be to double-time it onto the fire escape to shoot some grainy cell-phone vids for YouTube.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Wow, g, that was just about the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. Thanks!

Thanks to everyone out there...this has been an incredible 36 hours.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really sucks that this had to happen. But hopefully, the nypd will learn something useful from this and equip their auxiliaries with the tools they need for today's world. this isn't the 50s, people don't see a police uniform and just come out with their hands up, if they are they are going down they are taking everyone they can with them, we have automatic weapons, and semi autos, the guy had over 100 rounds and was a trained marine; a trained killer we have a lot more of those to look forward too in the not too distant future, with the way this war on terror is going.
In every state even other cities in NYS, the auxiliary programs have evolved, they get weapons, a vest, full police powers, anti-terrorism training, even the opportunity for part time paid police work, the same training as the regular police, to fit the needs of today's reality. NYPD is one of the few remaining holdouts, that has kept their program nearly a half century in the past, they are by federal law required to maintain this program, and have let it sit and rot, now two brave young men have paid for that with their lives. NYC has one of the largest Auxiliary programs in the country, and by far the most primitive.

Look at the surveillance video, if the first officer crouching behind the car had a gun and the proper training, he could have incapacitated the guy, and both he and his fellow officer would still be alive, the reason the police showed up so fast, is because he most likely called a 10-13, officers life in danger, that immediate arrival, is also the most likely reason that madman was finally stopped before he could disappear into the night. I really hope the police department of the most fast paced city in the world, finally decides to catch up, that is the only comfort I can possibly get from this horrible tale.

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At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Shop said...

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At 9:35 PM, Anonymous per head service said...

wow that is so terrible, I remember when this happened, I could not believe it, if I were there I would not record what happened, too dangerous


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