I have always heard that phrase, and I always thought it was stupid. Duh! Why would I run into a burning building. (Unless of course my child was in there.) Well, tonight I learned that sometimes that is only a metaphor; the building isn't always in flames, sometimes it's just a bad situation.
I was hanging out with Dave at his coffee shop, and we were just getting ready to leave to get some dinner. Dave says, "Turn around and look behind you." I turned around and saw two cops peeking around the corner, when I turned back around I looked down the street and saw six cop cars, and a whole bunch of cops with guns drawn. Most of them had out their big guns, AR-15's I think. I told Dave, "I'm not getting caught in any one's cross hair, I'm going inside." So I promptly sought safety inside the coffee shop.
Once I was inside, I told one of Dave's employees what was going on, and he locked the front door and told all the customers who were sitting next to the windows to move to the back. We were looking out the front and he said, "Doesn't it look like they're pointing their guns right at us?" Yeah it did.
One of the customers insisted that she needed to leave. We told her that she should just stay put because we didn't know what was going on. She insisted, and he let her out the back door that goes into an alley. Next thing I know, he's gone. I decided to poke my head out the back door and see what he was doing. Well, this is where it gets fun. I put my head out the back door and down the alley were about 5 cops, 2 of them pointing their big guns at me. One of them yelled at me to come out of the building. I walk out, and immediately put my hands up before they can even say anything else. I see them frisking Dave's employee and the customer who had just left. At this point I realize that I have my keys in my hand, and I start thinking about how you hear about people who get shot because the cops thought they had a weapon. I calmly tell the cops, "I have keys in my left hand, they're just keys." One of them said ok, and told me to turn around and walk backwards toward the sound of his voice. All of a sudden he says, "SLOW!" Okay, I slow down, I think. Then when I was about half way, I hear the guns click. WTF? What are they doing? Now I'm freaked. I finally get to them and the cop tells me to put my hands behind my back, which of course, I did. He then checks my pockets, and tells me to go behind the building with his partner. His partner told me that a woman had called and said that she was calling from inside the coffee shop and there was a man with a gun. Then he tells me if someone comes out and shots are being fired that I should jump behind the planter box and lay on the ground. I looked at him and said, "Good plan."
While all of this was going on, the police were on the phone with the other employee who was still inside, they instructed her to send the customers out one by one. As each customer comes out, they check them all. Nobody had anything on them, so the cops went in and checked the place out and couldn't find anything. So that was that.
It was crazy. And poor Dave was scarred because I guess right after I ran inside, the cop told him what was going on. He wanted to come in after me, but of course they wouldn't let him. You can get Dave's full perspective over on his blog.
AH, another day in our wonderful city!