“Armed to the Teeth, Ready for War”

April 19, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Another dispatch from TPM Reader CM, from in the search area in Watertown …

I thought I’d follow up with you from my e-mail from early this morning, “In Watertown”. It was a very long night, but both my wife and I are perfectly fine — at least physically. Things are very quiet in our part of the neighborhood now; our corner has become an extemporaneous gathering point for law enforcement to take a breather, grab some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and talk amongst themselves. The temperature is perfect outside, and if it wasn’t for the larger circumstances, one would feel inspired to go hang out with them.

This is, of course, in stark contrast to what we experienced off and on over the past 12 hours. After I wrote you, my wife and I remained hunkered down in our bedroom for at least another 15-30 minutes (like I said last night, my sense of time passing was out of whack last night). Once enough time had passed and I felt confident that our street was very well populated with police, I turned on our smallest television to local news and continued to devour social media. Being able to talk to friends on Facebook and texting helped keep me together and made the time pass faster.

Meanwhile, outside, police began an evening of searching the neighborhood. We are about one block down from 14 Hazel St., which was the subject of a lot of attention. I’ll leave it to the pros to tell us exactly what that attention consisted of, but at different points in the evening, there were dozens of officers congregated at the corner of Hazel and Dexter. The sight of so many uniforms standing tightly together in one place in my neighborhood in the middle of the night is one of the images that will endure with me long after all this is over.

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(Image Courtesy of TPM Reader CM)

Soon thereafter, many other officers began congregating at the corner that they’re now using for coffee breaks. But this morning, many of them were armed to the teeth, ready for war. A SWAT team assembled along Fairfield and then moved down it, searching. They then repeated that procedure with my part of Dexter Ave. — shining flashlights into yards, moving in between homes. I never saw them go into any houses — with one exception.

At some point in the middle of the dark morning, the address of the house across the screen came loud and clear over the scanner. I went to the front window to see several of my neighbors (none of whom I know) led out in handcuffs, across the street and onto my front porch (as good a place as any, I suppose). One of them who (at least at a distance) bore a vague resemblance to the suspect who’s still at large was taken aside and interrogated at length. At one point, an officer showed him a picture on a phone and asked, “That kind of looks like you, doesn’t it?” I don’t know why they were targeted, what happened after their arrest, or if and when they were released. But given that it’s clear that my neighbor was not who they were looking for, my heart goes out to him. It must have been even more terrifying than what his neighbors were experiencing.

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(Image Courtesy of TPM Reader CM)

Around 4:00 a.m., the news coming out of the scanner and the activity on the street slowed to a trickle. Police were constantly present, but there was no immediate action being taken. I finally got tired and joined my wife in bed as the sun was coming up, but not before calling my early-rising mother-in-law to tell her what was going on and that we were okay.

And then, at 8:00 a.m., my wife came running into the bedroom, waking me. We peeked out the back window and saw several police officers standing next to the houses behind us, guns drawn and aimed in our general direction. In front of the house, there were police standing behind cruisers, also pointing in our direction. Fox News reported around that time that police had surrounded a house or houses and I’m sure we and my neighbors were what we’re talking about. What they saw or were anticipating, I don’t know, but suddenly we were in the middle of a potential crossfire situation. Our downstairs neighbors, who have a three-year-old daughter, came up and stayed with us for a while so they would be of of ground level. We sat on the floor of the living room, passed the time talking about (what else) the events of the morning and watching cartoons On Demand.

That situation gradually defused, though I have no idea what the resolution was. After that, the focus of the police shifted elsewhere and our corner became the aforementioned gathering place.

While I was typing this, my wife called out that the police were leaving. And indeed, our corner is now devoid of any of the many police cars that were here just an hour ago. There is still a fire truck and a police cruiser down the block, but neighbors have started to emerge and are swapping stories. As for us, we had plans to visit my wife’s family in New Hampshire this weekend and we want nothing more than to be able to get in our car and get the hell out of here.

Damn… I spoke too soon. About six or seven officers and detectives just showed up, back on my corner. The story continues.

[ed.note: These are obviously first person accounts. There is no way to independently verify it, especially under present circumstances with the police situation in the area. However, I have taken various steps to assure veracity, including verifying that CM does live at the address he says he does. On this basis and others, I’m confident this is a good faith account of what has transpired.]

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