Wednesday, February 28, 2018

First Person: Stand Off

It's funny how things happen.  I usually don't eat at home before work.  That's why there are Pop Tarts, granola bars and Chex Mix in my desk at work.  Yesterday morning was different.  I'm usually up before the alarm clock, even more so yesterday.  It was breakfast at home, just a few handfuls of cereal and an oatmeal cookie.  Shower time was even earlier than usual.  It turns out, I needed every extra second.

My phone's message light was flashing when I returned to my bedroom after the shower.  That's never good.  Morning producer Kim was informing me that a homicide suspect was engaged in a stand off with police in Shamokin.  We already had  photographer Jason there, and I'd be traveling to Shamokin as soon as I hit the door.

After zooming in to work, I reviewed the information we had, checked a map, grabbed car keys and headed for the door.

Shamokin was an armed camp, and you could understand why.  That homicide suspect was still in his apartment, refusing to leave.  I gathered more facts at the scene, talked with a few people, took a deep breath, and I was on the air for Newswatch 16 This Morning at 4:30.  Photographer Jason had some great video, which we transmitted back to the station.

The assignment was a challenge.  It was constantly changing, and there was one half-hour where I made my position before the camera with seconds to spare.  I was off getting the latest info
After an exchange of gunfire around 5:30 AM, it was over.  I still had work to do-- interviews, video, etc.  A couple of updates during Good Morning America followed.  I missed my scheduled time for training on a new computer graphics system back at the office, but I weaseled in on another session later in the morning.

Editor Dave took photographer Jason's video, and we put together a report for Newswatch 16 at Noon that friend and coworker Nikki Krize introduced from the scene.  She would be doing follow ups for our afternoon and evening broadcasts.

It was a long and uncomfortable day, but at least, as I told a police officer, unlike him, no one was shooting at me.