Monday, March 21, 2016

Opelousas: Outside My Window #1

This is a post about something I saw outside my window one year ago. The other Outside My Window posts are here.

It was a Sunday morning - March 21, 2015. I was in a zone, working happily on a creative project while listening to spirit-lifting Cajun tunes by way of the local cultural treasure, KRVS.

Presently, I notice sunlight peeking through the slats of my window blinds, and I went to open them to draw that light in.

This is what I saw right before me:

Opelousas incident, March 21, 2015, Louisiana

Let me cut to the ending right now: This story ended in tragedy. A man ultimately shot and killed himself, alone in his apartment. The man who killed himself had children. He lived with a girlfriend. Whether or not he was a good man, bad man, or something in between (one of the things that started all of this was a fight between him and his girlfriend where he evidently threatened her safety) - I don't know.

Opelousas incident, March 21, 2015, Louisiana

My first thought was that there was Something Big happening in the shopping center where we've got the Piggly Wiggly and a Mama's Fried Chicken and a Quiznos and a movie theater. An Operation that was the result of a long-term investigation.

My second thought was, damn, I had something similar happen in my backyard in Alamogordo, too! On that day, I saw a man in my backyard wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an automatic weapon. Can't believe I didn't write a post about it. Anyway, there were law enforcement crawling all over the vicinity in search of a fugitive. They found him hiding in the laundry room in the building next to mine. The law enforcement officer I saw in my Alamogordo backyard walked through my apartment to get to the front faster than if he had to walk all around the back of the building to get to the front.

Over time, as I watched the two Louisiana snipers on the roof, I realized the reason for there to be two was so that one could concentrate on the potential target while the other rested. I watched them take turns focusing on their objective.

When I went to the other side of my apartment and looked out my bedroom window, I saw the funeral home parking lot packed with law enforcement vehicles. I saw different law enforcement branches - state police, local police, sheriff's department.

Opelousas incident, March 21, 2015, Louisiana

I found one faction unsettling. Black SUV vehicles with windows tinted so dark, you couldn't see inside. The men who seemed to go with them wore black t-shirts and khaki-colored pants. The black t-shirts had OPD on the front and the motto "Throw Back, Take Down" on the reverse. What has happened to "protect and serve"? Why do the windows of the vehicles need to be dark, secret?

Opelousas incident, March 21, 2015, Louisiana

Rightly or wrongly, when I see "throw back, take down" - with a lightning bolt within a fist, which is the graphic on the OPD t-shirt, I assume the "take down" refers to this. And the "throw back" this. About a month after the incident, I asked a couple of police officers about the t-shirt, and they denied any knowledge about its meaning. They did say, however, that these are the folks who do the regular roundups in partnership with the marshalls and other law enforcement entities. 

Opelousas Police Department t-shirt "throw back and take down." Credit: Daily World.

So there was a lot of manpower, a bevy of police vehicles, and a shitload of weaponry. At a certain point, everyone stood down, and presently an ambulance appeared and soon after that we bystanders learned that the man had killed himself.


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