BERKELEY: Police search for suspects in city's first homicide...

I thought a lot about rather or not to tell you about this....
It isn't a very good story, in fact it sucks.

but I have questions
maybe you can answer
so here it is..

I was visiting my daughter jillian in Berkeley and we were with another friend on our way to an evening of shared spiritual readings.  I was looking forward to it as I had met the young hostess when she had just finished her 10 day silent meditation at a Vipassana Center  near here.  Her  light was just amazing, she glowed, and I wanted to spend time with her again...

We parked and got out of the car with our grocery bag of salads and such to contribute to the potluck was dark but early evening...traffic..but not a lot..Berkeley is very quiet in the evenings...
as I closed the door on the passenger side I hear...
I've been around guns most of my life, we live in the country..if that matters...
I knew the sound immediately...
Gun fire!

I turned in the direction of the shots...and saw a male figure about 100 feet or so away...not a good judge but across the street...I saw him pointing his arm in the direction of a house and I saw fire coming from the gun he was holding....
this is real!
there was absolute silence and then more
pop, pop, pop
he's not done
at that moment a zillion thoughts went through my head...brain racing.
get the kids down
we need to get out of here
is this gang related
call 911
is there crossfire
is it random
did he see us 
we need to stay put
we were crouched between two cars

and everything slowed down

there was silence again
then a flurry of shots..10 - 15 fast

is he done
is he coming this way

pop, pop, pop, pop again

then silence 

then a final 3 shots and I knew...they were like the period at the end of a sentence..
pop pop........POP

and it was over.
Then the screaming began.
A woman crying....People started gathering on the sidewalk..
someone had seen him drive away 

a news report..

We were on Emerson kitty corner of that A marker on at the corner of Shattuck Ave......
a major road through Berkeley...

Not a bad part of town...
working families, businesses..students 

The shooting itself took a long time
went on as we got out of the car
huddled between the cars
Jillian found her cell phone
made the 911 call
waited a long time for someone to answer
she told the dispatcher what was going on and answered a lot of questions
at the end  of the call and the shooting was still going on

the Shooter was fearless...I looked up over the car and watched him
he was not  at all afraid to take his time
stand there on the sidewalk in full view and kill someone...that was a huge scarey realization...
he had a gun and was fearless.
During that time while all those thoughts were going through my mind the biggest one was that I would have to shield jillian...protect her should he make his get-a-way in our direction
or maybe he was on a shooting spree...and I didn't know for sure there was only one of them...
I didn't know
but I did know he would have to shoot me first.
poor Brian was on his own.

and even though I felt a fear like no was not the shaky fear like stage fright or almost being in a car was solid...and big...something that filled my actually expanded.....then stayed there.

I thought I could die...that we all could.
But it didn't feel like I was afraid of that.  Not scared.
maybe deep down I knew it wasn't my time.
or jillian's time
or Brian's

maybe it was sadness I felt...
I didn't want to be there...witness this violent act....
and maybe it was just the violent act itself that filled me.....

certainly you can't be witness to something like that and feel nothing.....
or maybe you can

I have told people about Berkeley, and since I've been home.
A surprising number seemed to think it was nothing.
No surprise, no
"oh my God, you witnessed a murder...''
In some cases it could just be a lack of interest in me
but not in all...some of the people I told the story to are close to me.

I keep seeing his silhouette and the fire coming from his hand...
and thinking of the terror the people inside that house must have felt....
Wondering if there is a lesson here?
Wondering how that man knew he could stand there, out in the open and take his time killing a human being?
.....wondering if the people I talk to aren't surprised because violent death with a gun is so commonplace that it is almost expected???....
I wonder these things.......


Angela Recada said...

Dear, dear Julie, I am so glad that you, Jillian and Brian are safe! What a horrible experience. I am so dismayed that our world is filled with such violence and sadness.

AkasaWolfSong said...

Mother/Father God...thank you for keeping my friend Julie, and her loved ones safe!!!

I am so sorry you had to be a witness to this, but like you wonder why you had to?

As I read your post I could see it is still reverberating out into the Blessed Universe, as when I was reading the horror of it, it touched my spirit too. I still feel sick from it and how close it came to you.

Now, the strange part comes,,,the praying for this person...who must hurt so much he is willing to take another's life. How very, very sad.

I send great healing your way Julie..may it wrap you in warmth and gentleness.


Rubye Jack said...

I am glad you made it away from there safe and sound, physically anyway. I lived rather close to there a year ago and it is really a decent neighborhood. People are not surprised because it is so commonplace any more, especially in Berkeley/Oakland.

Brianne said...

I am glad you are safe; perhaps like you said, because, the time wasn't your's. Maybe, the feeling you had at the time, the great feeling you hadn't experienced before, was shock? Not only shock that you were in the situation, but shock that other human beings were having to play out the roles: shooter; the one being shot; the ones grieving. There must have been some definite energy on that street that you were picking up on. You were an observer with no emotional connection to the situation; the "why" of it. Not that there seems to be a justifiable, "why." I can only imagine I would feel like I would just want to be invisible, to not be in the story of the shooter; so he would go on and not hurt my child and loved ones, me. It was not the aura you expected that evening. Did you ever see the friend you had the visit planned?

julie said...

Angela, me too!
Akasa, it was an experience...and it will be with me forever...and I do understand the praying for the shooter...I do.
Rubye...I wish it weren't true but you may be right. it was not the aura we were was to be a peaceful, inspiring and friends...a gathering of young people on the path to being better human in the world...It was a shock. And no...we just got in our car and left. Made it through just as roadblocks were being set up...There is a total of $17,000 in reward money but to my knowledge he is still out there...this figure who will always remain in my head...his act.
Thank you sisters for your loving thoughts..
and of course this too shall pass..I'm not afraid...just at a lose around it all...What was the lesson? Maybe it was for my daughter to be aware of her surroundings...I don't know.
love, love

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