“I work at Caribou Coffee. I don’t know what just happened, but my window’s broken and there’s like a hole in my fucking window. We just heard a big bang, and both my fellow employees and I ran. I don’t know what the sound is, but it sounds like somebody is still knocking, but nobody is there.”
These words were spoken by a friend to a 911 Operator shortly after 5:20 AM on May 15, 2013 in the neighborhood of Clintonville in Columbus, Ohio, which is also where I happen to live. The aforementioned window was punctured by a bullet fired by either Emmanuel Gatewood or his girlfriend Kourtney Hahn, who had just crashed their gold GM SUV into the neighboring parking lot of Columbus Fire Station 19 on Northmoor Place. Before they died, Gatewood (and possibly Hahn) traded gunfire with seven police officers while 11 others stood by on support.
Minutes previous, a cruiser had pursued Gatewood after discovering him and Hahn on Foster Avenue in Worthington; Gatewood was wanted for questioning regarding a murder discovered weeks earlier. The 24-year-old and his girlfriend fled the patrol car and fired bullets through its windshield before colliding with a spike strip that crippled his SUV. After four blocks of struggling with deflated tires, Gatewood crashed through waste-high bushes into a suburban parking lot surrounded by Silver Oaks and Toyota Avalons.
In two words, what followed was batshit crazy, especially for a neighborhood noted for its lovely Saturday farmer’s market and award-winning library. I was sleeping three blocks away when I heard the industrial procession of sirens, followed by the staccato snare drum paroxysm of overlapping gunfire. Many hammers pounded many chambers in that short minute of cinema turned reality: if I had to make an educated guess, I counted 35 – 45 shots.
Here are some images of the aftermath:
1. This is the South-facing window at Caribou Coffee that was damaged by a stray bullet (other houses in the vicinity were grazed by bullets as well).
2. This photo was taken by another friend at Caribou: the remains of the Golden GM SUV driven by Emmanuel Gatewood. Twelve bullet holes tightly border the perimeter of the window.
3. Police shut down High Street from East North Broadway to Winthrop till the evening. Even the side streets that snake up into the crime scene were cut off by motorcycle patrols. Ironically, the Wendy’s right across from the shootout out remained open.