Getting used to this whole on call thing is interesting. I have to say, it is a confusing way to wake up. I almost forgot what my job was or why my phone would be ringing at 4:30 in the morning. It is nice to be up so early though, the walk to my car is the best. Nothing like the brisk morning air and the sound of birds chattering away to replace coffee. I had forgotten to grab my energy on the way out, however my destination was a 7-11. Hmmm... would it be rude to buy an energy drink or coffee before cleaning up after a shooting there? Yeah, maybe I'll pass on that and run on fumes for the time being.
Driving to the site I tried to block out any personal connection I might have to this particular case. A clerk had been shot in a robbery and amazingly he survived and actually called 911 himself. A little over a year ago I had a run in with an armed robber while working at Doctor John's. Gratefully there were no injuries and that robber has been prosecuted. After my experience with that my blood runs cold when I think about how lucky I am that the person attempting to rob me was so spun out she has no idea what she was doing. The man this morning was not so lucky, but he has his life. Unfortunetly the robber is still on the loose.
I arrived before my boss did and sat awkwerdly in my car watching the 3 news teams scurry around to find good shots, fiddle with camera equipment, and touch up hair and make up. It was amusing, I tried to imagine what they were doing with so little information. Once my boss arrived I hopped out of my car, ducked under the caution tape (I love doing that, lol) and met up with him at the back entrance to the 7-11. Of course we were intercepted by a news crew member asking us about the case. "We don't know anything, we just clean." usually keeps them away. We're SO boring.
The employees were calm, maybe this isn't "their first rodeo" as my coworkers say. The shooting occured in the small back room behind the counter, because of this shortly after we began cleaning the store reopened for the morning rush. This room barely fit my boss and I and was filled with screens to the survellience cameras and various DVDs all over the floor. This is my second shooting. The last one was a shot gun, lots of arterial spray, holes in the ceiling, and teeth. (As a side note, I learned today that my boss was able to see a contact lens in perfect condition stuck to the wall from the shot gun suicide job about a month ago, the kid literally blew his contacts right off of his eyeballs. After years of experience with this job it's amazing how much you start to notice detail in everything.) This morning it was obvious the gun was a 9mm of some sort, the blood pooled on the floor and didn't spray all over the room, it was pretty concentrated. That makes for an easier clean. Before knowing much about what happened we could figure out that the man who was shot was the one to make the call to 911. The phone looked as though who ever used it was spitting out blood, the mouth piece and handle were covered much more than the rest of the phone. At first glance we knew the rolly chair couldn't be saved. With cloth material sometimes we just have to throw it away. The room looked like it may have never been cleaned so it was hard to tell what was blood or marinara sauce sometimes. haha. We just clean up anything that could look like blood because the employees are not going to know the difference and will probably freak out at any red spots in that room. It makes me want to freak them out and pretend to lick what I know isn't blood and reassure them there is no bio hazard there. Since the store reopened my boss and I had to keep it low key and sort of pretend we were not there for any special reason. It took us about 3 hours to clean up all together. The morning clerk was a young girl who seemed really anxious as I heard customers ask her about the shooting. That makes for a loooong day I tell you what. Other than her the managers seemed more worried about the money and getting the finger print chalk cleaned up around the front counter. At first I was bothered by the attitude of the people in charge but then again, it is their job and I have no idea what the entire situation is or who any of the people are. There was an old police business card with a case number written on it in that back room. That's what made us think maybe this wasn't the first time or there have been attempts without injury in the past.
In conclusion, it was great to spend the time with the boss and learn more about him and the business. I was also happy at how I handled a case that hit so close to home, the drive over was a little nerving. We only found a couple of teeth so it is a good sign that the clerk shot is going to recover. I have been curious what a clean up in a public setting would be like as far as dealing with people in shock or grieving. It makes sense that it went the way it did. Cold as it was, it makes sense to keep a business running without creating panic.
*My boss gave me an update on the shotgun suicide case if anyone out there is curious. For a recap about a month ago a 15 year old shot himself and survived. ( http://caitlinblue.blogspot.com/2011/04/cringe-alert.html ) Yesterday boss man got the information that the kid went home Friday but no longer has the ability to communicate. :( He has lost his jaw, tongue, nose and eye sight. But doctors are going to attempt to reconstruct his tongue, nose, and jaw so one day this kid can talk again. That sounds amazing and I wonder if it is an experimental procedure or if it has been done before more than a few times. I don't know if he is deaf or not, but there is a good chance of that. It is a tragic example where you can't help but wonder if surviving was the best thing. My heart goes out to him and his family.