Saturday, May 30, 2009

Zombies and assault rifles and cops - oh my!!

Last night I was sent out to cover a Zombie Crawl in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I thought it would be uneventful, and a little odd. I was going to do a couple of live hits on the radio, take a video for the website, and call it a day. To be quite honest, I wasn't looking forward to seeing blood and guts and rotting skin. It all sounded too gross and strange for me.

I was lingering outside Metro Clothing waiting for the Zombies to show up, when I saw a man on the other side of the street who scared the living daylights out of me. He was wearing all black, a gas mask, and carrying what looked to be an assault rifle. My brain told me it was fake, but my instincts didn't take any chances. Images of news stories about public shootings flashed in my head as I watched him cross the street in front of a parking enforcement cop. It was toward my side of the street. I quickly turned around and started walking. Fast. I imagined sprays of shots hitting passerby. I scanned for hiding places. My heart pounded as I saw cop cars screech around the corners. My reporter insticts took over and I stopped walking to see the action.

One cop stopped in the middle of the road and asked people standing on the street where "the man in the swat uniform went." One guy pointed at Metro Clothing. The SPD officer got out of his car, then pulled out an assault rifle. Cha-ching. He cocked it and started walking quickly toward the store, as other police with guns drawn, and members of the Seattle gang unit ran inside Metro Clothing. Blue and red lights flashed on Broadway. I expected to hear shots ring out. I grabbed the video camera and turned it on, the picture shaking from adrenaline. I was the only news reporter at the scene, and by golly, I was going to capture this takedown.
I had the camera trained on the guy as they pulled him out of the store in handcuffs. They took him to a patrol car in the middle of the street, and removed the gun, and a grenade. At this point the man was smiling as he talked to the officers, and I even saw one of the cops crack a smile. I had no idea what on earth was going on. I did live hits on the radio, describing the scene to the best of my ability. This was turning out to be the weirdest story I'd ever covered.
I later found out this guy was a zombie, who was coming for the Zombie Crawl. He was dressed as a character from Resident Evil, who hunts zombies. His outfit looked a little too realistic, which he found out the hard way. It was definately a rush covering this story, and I'm glad it didn't turn out differently. The story is now on the front page of our website. You can read the story, and watch the video, by clicking on the link below:
What a very weird Friday evening. It was a zombie of a good time.


Travis said...

nicely done!!! what a weird story, glad you had the camera!!!!

Paula said...

That is a weird story. I must say, though, that in this day and age of so many public shootings, I don't find it appropo to walk around with a costume that includes an assault rifle.

Colleen said...

I had actually just arrived in Seattle when you broke this story. I was listening to the new FM channel! OO-la-la! Sounds fab-oo.