Officer Sonny Jenkins had his nine-millimeter set to fire—a round chambered and the safety off. He took a deep breath and a long, hard swallow that first sent his prominent Adam’s apple down, and then back up again. His heart, thumping against the inside of his chest, was a metronome on steroids.
Bump. Bump. Bump.
He made his rounds, slowly and carefully, clearing each of the rooms. So far, so good. Only the kitchen and that room remained. The one where…
He heard a sound and stopped dead still, holding his breath. A beat passed and he heard it again. Clunk. The sound came from down the hallway, in the direction of the kitchen.
Just an ice cube dropping into the plastic bin. Then he noticed the whir of the refrigerator’s compressor. He’d search the kitchen next, after he checked the room where IT happened.
Couldn’t put it off any longer. Two careful steps onto the hardwood. One more and the old floorboards would sound off with a screechy creak. He waited, cocking his head to one side, listening. Nothing.
Well….there was that constant ticking of the antique mantle clock.
Tick… Tick… Tick…
Outside, a brutal December nor’easter pushed and pulled on the limbs of the old Hackberry tree in the side yard. The corner streetlamp backlit the tree’s gnarled appendages, sending its dark shadow to wave and sway on the interior walls, including the one spattered with splotches of dried blood and, well, that other stuff. The stuff he didn’t want to think about.
The Hackberry’s tiniest branches and twigs scraped and scratched against the house—dozens of skeletal fingers strumming a clapboard harp. The eerie display reminded Sonny Jenkins of a maestro’s arms and hands as he brings his orchestra toward a final crescendo.
Same song and show every night.
Every single night of his miserable life.
Whir, click, clunk, scrape, tick, scratch, and the bump of his grief-induced heartbeat. The macabre concerto had repeated each night since his beautiful wife used his service weapon, the same gun he held in his sweaty hand right now, to scatter the parts of her that once contained her memories, thoughts, silent prayers, and dreams of growing old together, all over the wall of that room.
He could no longer watch the shadow dance on his wife’s blood and brains.
The music had reached the coda.
It was time for the maestro’s finale.
The fat lady was singing her ass off.
He raised the gun and pressed the barrel against the roof of his mouth.
Whir, click, clunk, scrape, tick, bump, thud…BANG!
Tick… Tick… Tick…
You gave your all to protect and serve us, and for that we are eternally grateful.
Detective John Hobbs
Phoenix Arizona Police Department
March 3, 2014 – Detective John Hobbs, a 21-year-veteran of the PPD, was shot and killed while attempting to serve an attempted murder warrant on a man who’d recently been released from prison. A second detective was also shot during the exchange of gunfire. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
Although severely wounded and with his partner down, Detective Hobbs was able to return fire, killing the suspect.
A colleague described Hobbs in this way. “Heroic. Absolutely heroic.”
Detective Hobbs leaves behind his wife and three children.
* * *
Virginia State Police Master Trooper Junius Walker, a 35 year VSP veteran, was shot and killed last year after stopping to assist with a disabled vehicle.
The shooter, Russell Brown, fled the scene and later engaged in a shootout with other troopers before he was finally apprehended.
This week, after hearing testimony from a doctor, a judge ruled that Brown was incompetent to stand trial for murdering Trooper Walker. Brown was then transferred to Central State Hospital where he’ll receive mental health treatment in a bid to restore his competence to stand trial for Trooper Walker’s death.
Junius Walker was a good man and a fine trooper who served the Commonwealth and his community for nearly 40 years. I can only hope that Brown will someday stand trial and be convicted of capital murder.
A stretch of Interstate 85 in Virginia was renamed the Master Trooper Junius Alvin Walker Memorial Highway.