And yet another reason why we must never submit to gun control or rely on the police for protection. We are on our own. From Broward County, FL:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — He had just stepped from the shower and was settling in for the night when he caught a glimpse of a figure outside his window.
Seventy-year-old Bill Norkunas, a childhood polio survivor, headed over to the light and flicked it on hoping to scare away whoever was there. Instead, the light was a beacon drawing a young man to his front door, a door made of glass.
And then for the next 15 minutes, Norkunas stood there, barefoot and unclothed, with his crutches, on one side of the glass pane trying to steady a gun in his trembling hand while the stranger stood on the other side, pounding on the door, banging it with his hip or gnawing at the thick hurricane-grade glass with a garden paver. Norkunas, who suffered minor injuries from the glass digging into his foot, has no idea why the man, later identified as 23-year-old Timothy Johnson of Fort Lauderdale, tried to break down his door on Nov. 7.
And as bewildering, and just as terrifying to him, is the knowledge that a squad of Broward sheriff’s deputies responded to his Tamarac neighborhood, but none came close to his home to stop the man. Instead, they waited down the street until he walked over to them and surrendered, witnesses told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The result is a palpable sense of outrage toward the Sheriff’s Office with many in the neighborhood questioning why deputies would leave a terrified, disabled man to fend for himself for as long as they did.
The Sheriff’s Office refused to answer questions about the response, including why no one showed up at Norkunas’ home, whether policy was followed or broken, and whether the situation could have been handled better. Instead, the department released this statement:
“Within days of the incident in Tamarac, the Broward Sheriff’s Office began a thorough review into how the deputies on scene handled the response to this fluid and rapidly evolving situation. The review into this incident is ongoing.
“The Broward Sheriff’s Office responds to tens of thousands of calls for service each year. The vast majority of these calls are handled appropriately with satisfactory outcomes. [The Broward Sheriff’s Office] constantly reviews and assesses its responses to emergency calls in order to provide the highest level of service to the public.”
Neighbors would not call the response “the highest level.” Instead of stopping the would-be-intruder at Norkunas’ door, witnesses said, the deputies stayed down the street and around a corner, some 500 yards away while Norkunas and his neighbors flooded the 911 emergency communications system begging for help for almost 15 minutes.
“If he opens the door can I shoot him?” Norkunas asks the 911 dispatcher about two minutes into his phone call for help.
By the third minute, Norkunas is telling the dispatcher that the stranger is trying to kick the door in, according to recording of the call. While still on the phone with the dispatcher, Norkunas can be heard warning the stranger that he better leave or he is going to get shot. Until this point in his life, Norkunas had never pointed a gun at anyone before.
“Get the cops here quick,” he barks into the phone at minute four.
Three minutes later, Norkunas’ voice is weary: “Sheriff, hurry up please.”
Three more minutes pass. “Where the hell are the cruisers? … They are still not here. Jesus Christ. There’s still no cruisers. Come to my house, please please.”
He tells the dispatcher his glass door is smashed in and he doesn’t know what to do. The dispatcher tells him the deputies are canvassing the area to “make sure no one else gets hurt.”
A dispatcher hears the glass breaking and alerts the 18 deputies who had been assigned to go to Norkunas’ home, according to a dispatcher’s log that documents the call and response. The Sheriff’s Office initially refused to release those public records, as well as the 911 call and police report, until the Sun Sentinel’s attorney got involved.
Still, the breaking glass did not seem to be enough to get deputies to move in on the man outside Norkunas’ door.
Norkunas continues to plead with the dispatcher on the 911 call, saying his home is at the end of the cul-de-sac. He says there are two cars in the driveway and there’s a light on.
“If he gets inside this house, I don’t know what I am going to do. I’ve never shot anybody,” he tells the dispatcher.
Norkunas stayed on the phone with a dispatcher from the time he made the call at 9:26 p.m. until Johnson, the suspected intruder, walked directly to the deputies and was detained 15 minutes later, according to witnesses and the dispatcher’s log.
Where were the sirens? The whirling blue lights? The men and women who put on the uniform each day ready to serve? What were they waiting for?
“I’ve been on this earth 70 years, and I have never seen anything like this,” Norkunas said in an interview. “No officer came to my house. None.”
While law enforcement officers take an oath to serve and protect, they are not bound to do so legally, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
“The law doesn’t require law enforcement officers to protect you from other people,” said Rodney Jacobs, assistant director of the Civil Investigative Panel, a police oversight committee for the city of Miami.
There you have it.