My First Murder …. Story That Is

Not exactly the most relaxing of headlines, I know. Still, it’s an experience that is worth sharing and thanks to the blogosphere, I can.

Monday after nine am, I was out on another story when my photographer Kathy Driscoll and I were sent to the Midtown Towers on Liberty Avenue. There we learned of a stabbing that had taken place at some point earlier in the morning. Upon arriving, we discovered the Medical Examiner’s truck ( a.k.a. “The Meat Truck” ) came by to pick up the dead body. In the end, the man was stabbed by his cousin following some sort of dispute.

Let me not bore you with the case details. Instead, I want to share with you the feelings I had as I watched this entire thing unfold. This was the first murder story I had covered in person. while I never saw the body or the blood, I could sense the air of sadness. I did not know the man, but I could not help but be saddened by the knowledge that someone had been killed just 12 floors above me.

When the detective came out to address the media, it was somewhat depressing to hear him talk of this human life taken in such antiseptic terms: A middle-age black male found stabbed once in the chest and lying on the living room floor. The body found by the mother around 9am. The reference to the homicide being a “family incident”. A dispassionate description of the final moments of a life extinguished before it’s time.

I am not squeamish when it comes to the human body in death. I have done stories in morgues and have seen the recently deceased undergoing an autopsy. But I had never dealt with death by homicide … and it can be quite traumatic. While we read about people being killed every morning on Channel 4 Action News, it never really hits home until you actually are there for the aftermath of one of these killings.

It’s a shock to the system … and then, the moment is over. As we left the crime scene, I noticed that the world went on. That people walked briskly from one place to another, conducting their daily business as usual. Unaware that 12 floors above them, a violent crime had taken some one’s life. Such is the cycle of life .. and death is part of life. Even murder.

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