Posted in Columbus, crime, Work, tagged Columbus, crime, Downtown Columbus, Gay Street, Shooting, Stabbing, Work on March 16, 2012 |
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Those of us who work on Gay Street have been dealing with the aftermath of the stabbing and shooting incident that happened on our street on Wednesday.
We’ve learned about the heroism of one of the workers in the office where the madman attacked. The worker fought the assailant, helped to save a fellow employee, and was stabbed in the commission of his good deed; he remains in critical condition in a local hospital. We’ve also heard about friends and colleagues who were in the building when the attack occurred. Two of the people at our firm were eating at the deli in the lobby when they heard a scream, saw the melee, and ran for their lives. And all of us who work in the area and eat lunch at local establishments like that deli have thought, uneasily: It could have been me.
The most frightening aspect of the awful incident is that it apparently was utterly random. The lunatic was new to Columbus and had lived here, with his aunt, for only a month. He had a history of mental health problems and a criminal record. His aunt told him to move out, and that might have been what set him off. So, a paranoid, deeply disturbed individual armed with two knives found himself in downtown Columbus and went on a rampage for no rational reason, at a location that probably was chosen solely by his inner demons. It’s troubling to think that those demons could easily have selected our building instead.
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Posted in Columbus, crime, Work, tagged Columbus, crime, Downtown Columbus, Gay Street, Shooting, Stabbing, Work on March 14, 2012 |
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Today I was sitting at my desk, working through lunch, when I heard sirens wail and police cars rush down the street outside my window. A few moments later, I heard a curious pop-pop-pop-pop sound. After a few seconds I found myself wondering whether it was the sound of gunshots, and whether I should get away from my large office windows — but the thought was so outlandish that I immediately dismissed it. Who would think there could be a shooting on Gay Street, in the heart of downtown Columbus, over the lunch hour on a work day?
But that is exactly what happened, as I learned a few minutes later when I went out to get a sandwich. The block east of our building was blocked off by police cars, the mounted police were present, gawkers were clustered, and news vans with their spiral antennae towering in the air were nearby. I heard from fellow pedestrians that the police had shot someone. It turns out that some madman entered a building a block away, stabbed a man, was disarmed, pulled out another knife and stabbed three other men, and then was shot by police who were called to the scene. Four men are hospitalized in critical condition, including the knife-wielding lunatic, and another victim is at a hospital with less serious injuries.
I’ve worked on Gay Street for 27 years, and I’ve never heard of violent crime occurring there, much less multiple knifings followed by a shooting. It’s bizarre, and it clearly rattled some people. The Columbus police thought it was necessary to issue a statement that these kinds of incidents are “extremely unusual.” No kidding! (And thank God for that!)
It’s not clear whether the assailant had an understandable motive, or whether this is just a senseless, troubling, utterly random act of violence. It makes you realize that there are very disturbed people walking around out there, and you never know when you might encounter them. It also makes me think that I’ve gotten accustomed to a little zone of presumed safety on Gay Street, and that I don’t pay much attention to the other people around me on the city streets on any given workday — and I probably should.
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