Attempted armed robbery paints the real picture
As they headed from an apartment in Oak Lawn to the Cedar Springs Road entertainment strip last weekend, about the last thing on the minds of the happy trio of friends was the possibility of becoming crime victims.
But just as they got about a block from their destination, a man jumped out of the shadows near the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Douglas Avenue. He pulled a silver, semi-automatic handgun from the front of his pants and waved it at them, yelling “Yo, yo, yo,” according to the witnesses.
“Chris screamed and ran,” said Justin Bradford. “I yelled at my friend Michelle to run, and we all pretty much ran in different directions. After we started running, I guess it jolted them. They ran and hid.”
It was about 12:45 a.m., Saturday, July 21 obviously too late to be walking the streets of Oak Lawn. They realize that now.
Fortunately, no one got hurt or lost any valuables. But it could have been much worse. Just three months earlier, a man using an ATM machine at Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Avenue was gunned down and killed as he walked to his car.
Bradford said the gun-wielding man he and his friends encountered last weekend was obviously an amateur. “I’m glad he was inexperienced. I’m sure things could have gone really awry had he not been an amateur,” he said.
The irony of what happened to Bradford and his friends, Michelle Kiker and Dallas Voice ad representative Chris Edwards is that the newspaper had just published a story about crime declining in Oak Lawn. The story quoted Dallas Chief of Police David Kunkle, who was the guest speaker at a recent Oak Lawn Apartment Managers and Stakeholders Crime Watch meeting, as saying, “recent crime numbers are indicative that life is good” in Oak Lawn.
Well, it was only good for our trio of friends last weekend until they got the Holy Ghost scared out of them by a couple of thugs packing heat.
“I don’t feel safe at all anymore,” Edwards said this week.
Bradford said he used his cell phone to call 911 immediately after the trio of friends got back together a block away and he was astonished when the operator advised him to wait for the police in the location where the gunman accosted them.
“I told him there was no way I was going to stand there,” Bradford said.
Instead, they saw a police car at a service station and ran to it. The 911 operator apparently had just alerted officers about the emergency call.
“The policeman said he was looking for us,” Bradford said. “He took our report and was nice enough to give us a ride back home. They were really good. I was impressed with them.”
Bradford said that although the police responded to the incident quickly, it gives him little comfort for the future.
“I know they can’t be everywhere at once,” Bradford said. “Now, I’m just going to take a cab.”
Bradford said it is frustrating to live so close to the entertainment strip and still be forced to wait for a cab because of safety concerns.
“By the time a cab gets there, I could pretty much be there,” Bradford said.
It’s unlikely the two suspects who accosted the group will be apprehended before they commit another crime. They now face charges of deadly conduct, and they’re obviously out there somewhere.
Bradford said he remains shaken by the incident, but he decided to speak out to warn others about the danger lurking in the shadows of Oak Lawn.
Sgt. Keith Allen, interactive community police officer for Oak Lawn, said entertainment districts always attract criminals such as armed robbers, burglars and pickpocketers so there will always be a risk, no matter what the crime statistics show.
“It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and to be careful,” Allen said.
So the lesson to be learned from the trio’s experience is: Crime may be down, but it’s still as dangerous as hell out there plan accordingly.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 27, 2007