Trying times & shoe leather reporting

Today I extensively covered, along with a team of other hard-working Republic writers, an officer involved shooting where both the suspect and the police officer succumbed to their gunshot injuries.

I went out to the crime scene, a nice neighborhood in Laveen, Ariz. just nearly outside of the city. It was a quiet street and the home was eerie. There wasn’t any police presence; most Phoenix PD officials were outside of the hospital where the officer was fighting for his life. A man was boarding up the home, covering up the window and door that police broke through. There was broken glass sprinkled on the sidewalk and bullet holes in the garage door. The contractor said he saw children’s toys on the floor of the home.

As I was out on the scene, I knocked on surrounding houses’ doors to try to get a feel of what went down. Most neighbors were nice to me — I was alone, didn’t have any cameras and apologized for interrupting their day when they surely just wanted things to calm down on their street again. But I managed to find out some useful information on the family that lived in the house and the actual events that took place. Nothing is confirmed yet.

I was out there for nearly 4 hours attempting to find out all that I could. A Fox reporter and photographer were out there too, but I tried to stick to myself. Afterwards, I headed back to the office where I helped search social media to find people who would be willing to tell us stuff about the officer himself, as we are working on a profile on him.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten sun burned on my neck and sweated all of my makeup off while out on scene somewhere. But this is one of the first stories that really drained me and stuck with me when I got home. I’ll undoubtedly be working on the same story when I go into the office tomorrow, but now I’m so exhausted, I can’t be bothered to get off the couch.

Something else to take into consideration is how my story on a former ASU football player was received by the community this week. I was sent an email by a woman who berated us on our lack of sympathy for the family of a man who killed his dog by putting it in his smoker.

While I was focused so much on delivering the hard-to-believe story to the public, I, and I think my editor as well, didn’t really stop to think about what it would do for the family. I’m wondering what kind of edits they will make.

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