TPS E01 : Rob McCrary – Crazy Shootout, PCP Fight, African Lion & Coping With Stress – Thingspolicesee

TPS E01 : Rob McCrary – Crazy Shootout, PCP Fight, African Lion & Coping With Stress

In this episode Steve sits down with retired Pomona Police Detective Rob McCrary.  Pomona is a small city just outside of LA that is known for its propensity for violence and crime.  Rob recalls some very intense experiences involving a man that wouldn’t die, an African Lion, and a mad man hopped up on PCP.  Come along for the ride and gain a better appreciation for what the police do for us day in and day out.

this is things police see first Annacomes with your oast steve gold hey guyswelcome to episode 1 of things policesee first-hand accounts in this episodei interview retired Pomona officer RobMcCreary Rob had an incredible career inPomona he saw so many crazy just how arethis world things you won’t believe itI mean from shooting it out withgangsters in the street to wrestlingpeople on PCP this guy has doneeverything he’s had some crazy times asa cop and I really think you’re gonnaenjoy this episode I really enjoyedinterviewing Rob he’s just such a greatguy and the interview just really showsyou what it takes to be a police officerin Southern California right now howcrazy it can be and and how it affectsyour life afterwards how it what it doesto your to your mind and just kind ofhow you relate to everybody else insociety so it’s just a great episode Ihope you enjoy it thank you again forchecking it outand here it is my interview with RobMcCreary I’m here with Rob McCreary hewas a police officer for the city ofPomona for 25 years and Rob the onlything I really know about Pomona is thatwhen I moved to your year ago every timeI saw an apartment available you guystold me not to move to Pomona that istrue it’s a tough town it’s a very busybedroom community okay there’s a lot ofa lot of things going on in the housesand neighborhoods it does a very highcrime rate for the area if you look atthe city surrounding it it’s kind oflike the drain of the area everythingjust kind of falls into Pomonaso I’m because of this I’m particularlyexcited to talk to you about yourexperience being a police officer therebecause I know you have some great huhsome great stories can you can youdescribe to everyone what what it waslike and what was going through yourhead and what was them the first likehot call call that you would considerlike a real hot call that you everresponded to and when you went there youwere like oh my god I believe it wasprobably 1993I was off training not even a year wasassigned to B Squad which is day shiftworking Friday Saturday Sunday Monday meand this guy that I ended up becominggood friends and partners with we weredispatched to a possible man with a guncall which that kind of call is prettycommon in Pomona because we have a lotof gangs okayso your your litmus test for a hot callmight be different than someone like mewho worked for a very small town rightwe’re used to victims of a shootingalmost daily right or shots fired prettymuch daily okay yeah a pretty violenttown okay so you would dispatch to thiscall yes it was up in the islands whichis the north side of Pomona which is acontrolled by back then it’s still kindof today but it’s a gang it’s a bloodgang african-american gang they callthemselves a four five six island Bloodsso this particular individual that wecame across his drug of choice was PCPwonderful so this kind of as on trainingcome across PCP a little bit but thiswas gonna be my firstwelcome to PCP that’s call as an EastCoaster these PCP calls were heard onthe East Coast but it was specific toCalifornia like we heard a lot of PCPyes yes with the with the black gangsback in the 80s and in the 90s it wasstill it was still very is mostly withthe oh geez – and this guy his name wasAndre Swafford he was a oh gee bloodgangster always always on PCP in and outof prison so he was walking around theneighborhood acting strange taking offhis clothes and he had they saw him witha revolver in his waistband but hewasn’t brandishing at that time so weget called and my partner and I roll upone man cars but we were following eachother to the call we see Andre and heimmediately takes off running so he runssouth through a backyard and then weenter the backyard and he’s trying toget over a chain-link fence but he’sreally dusted so he’s having someproblems you can only imagine you’reyou’re running to grab a guy who’s knownto behind PCP all the time and as a gunyeah so what he did was he when he gotto the fence he saw his coming he throwsthe gun over the fence into the alley heturns around and now I noticed he’sreally sweaty I don’t remember what timeof year this was but I just remember hewas super sweaty and he has no shirt onso he starts running directly at mypartner officer Lanier and they startfighting and in mando mando Lanier was apartner I worked with mando back thenwas in really good shape he was probablyabout six feet tall 210 pounds workedout a lot and me back then I was 6 feetto about 150 pounds soaking wet withsand in my pockets not quite physicallyfit but you know I could run so this guystarts fighting and I see him grab mandoby the neck and lift him up and put himinto a chain-link fence so I run overthere and kick this man in the balls ashard as I can and it doesn’t even fazehimthat alone is terrifying he turns aroundand he starts running again startsjumping fences now we’re three or fourhouses away from when we first startedand I’m already exhausted completelyexhausted and we’re putting out a callyou know 9:06 call which means in Pomona9:06 means we need help like yesterdayokayso we make it into this garage of thishouse where the guy is the garage doorfaces the alley which would be south sohe’s insidethe open garage and he’s punchingthrough a pink planewhat’s at the window yeah windowpanehe’s just literally punching throughthis he’s knocking out supports andeverything just he was just not feelinganything so he goes through the windowinto the front yard I run around theside and I try to tackle this guy andthen we’re fighting and I’m hitting thisguy I’m kicking him and doing everythingI can and nothing his faced witheverything you gotso I finally pull out my gun because I’mso tired and I have my gun at my side inmy right hand I try to pull it up to hishead and he grabs the barrel and he’sjust looking at me and he’s literally inthe process of taking my gun for me andI’m thinking oh my god I’m gonna dieright now oh man so then out of nowheremando comes through the broken windowfrom the garage with a flat head shoveland proceeds to hit Andre on the top ofthe head as hard as he could and itdropped him like a sack of shit oh I’llnever forget the sound it made when hehit him on the head with that show mygod it workedno he went to the ground he wasn’tunconscious but he knocked him down gothim off mehe was trying to get up but mando justkept ripping him in the head with hisshovel and I just remember how tired Iwas at that point it was just crazy andso then finally other units startgetting there and it took probablyanother 4 or 5 of us to get himhandcuffed my god what a drug yeah it’sand that’s not his only encounter withus that he’s had like that he’s hadabout 3 or 4 906 calls with just Pomonathere’s nothing nothing yeah when you’rejust out of gas and you realize thatyou’re about to lose your firearm yeahthat’s bad I ended up having a couplebroken fingers mando I think had somesomething wrong with his throat fromwhen the guy was choking the shit Idon’t know up against the fence butother or not the bad guy had he had someserious injuries to he went to jail fora couple more years for assault on usand long story shortcouple years after her right before Iretired he ended up committing ahomicide killed his his ex-girlfriend’snew boyfriend just basicallyassassinated him and he’s back in themyou guys are just waiting for this guyto kill someone right now oh yeah thisis gonna happen well he had he’d alreadygotten away with several shootings youknow gang-related stuff but right yeahthe last homicide he did and hisex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend there wasyou know four or five witnesses broaddaylight just totally assassinate theguy Wow so after you after you get donewrestling with him and you guys you havethem buckled up in the cruiser like whatdo you where was your mind frame at forthat that was the first time you eversaw this you did this job and you’relike wow that was the first time Ithought that you could really die doingthis job right I mean you really youknow it they tell you that and you seeit but you’re young but I just never Idon’t think it never really imprinted onmy brain until that incident and Irealized managers start working out yeahthat was that was not cool wow that’sincredible Rob can you tell me about themost bizarre or strangest I’m sure youhave a bunch of them but just a bizarrestrange call that you went to well Iwish I could remember there’s so manymore details about this call I can’tremember but I do remember the thebasics and again this is like rightaround the same time I was a new guy ona ship working that that weekend a shipand I was working over on the east sideof town and I get called they dispatchedme and a backup call and a supervisorand they also said hey Animal Control iscoming and they said 927 Holt in SanAntonio 927 means check the vicinity fora lion like a mountain lion no they saidit was an African lion like a full-grownking of the jungle African lion now Idon’t live near the jungle the city isnot near the jungle so this was dis isodd so I needed a little moreclarification so I do remember askingthe dispatchers on ayou know to go to channel two and theywere dead serious they said basicallythis guy who was transporting some wildexotic animals decided to stop by hisparents house in Pomona and as he did heparked his truck in front of the houseand somehow this full adult male lionescaped from the back of his cargo truckand was last seen walking towards7-eleven at Holton San Antonio obviouslyknows Pomona probably grew up there yeahhis mom lives on Mountain View justnorth of Holt he thought it was a goodidea to stop by with all his that he wasillegally transporting of course yeah sohere we are you know this call is noweverybody’s heard this call go out andso everybody’s in the area and and sureenough walking down Holt with all thehookers and the drug addicts andeverybody else is this full-grownmountain lion or a African lion like afull you know king in the jungle whatthe junkies looking at it like everybodywas in their mind or David it was realthey were just tripping everybody wasjust tripping out people were runningpeople were screaming we’re getting allkinds of calls and it ended up goingover by the park there’s a park rightthere about a block away and it wentinto the park it kind of sat down on thegrass look like he was enjoying himselfnot a worry but I was thinking I don’tknow what to do here you know I don’t Idon’t think we can shoot it I don’treally want to shoot the lion right sothey were telling us to just try to keepan eye on it and they had wildlifepeople from the forestry I guess theforestry department some Park Rangers orsomething who had weapons to deal withthis thing right play game wardens orsomething yeah yeah so it took them gotat least a half hour so we werefollowing this lion all over the placeover in the east side of town justtrying to keep people away from it itdidn’t really seem like it was beingaggressive it looked like it wasconfused and eloping aroundyeah just like and then the guy thedriver said that all the animals hadbeen given drugs for theOh at me so he wasn’t I wasn’t reallybeing aggressive but it was just thecraziest thing I’d ever seenwere you even confident that you couldlike stop the thing no no I and Iremember I I was I got probably theclosest to it then the other units but II wouldn’t I don’t wanna get out of mycar I cuz I I don’t know much aboutlions I just thought fuck I think cankill me if it wants I have a shotgun butyou know I don’t really want to shootthis thing yeah and I’m thinking how thehell is he ended up in Pomona why is hehere you know where he was coming fromso ultimately the the warden guy getsthere they shoot it with some darts orsomethingI think passes out they ended up loadingit up they took custody of that animaland I guess there was a couple otherexotic creatures in the guy’s truck theyended up sighting him the animalsweren’t stolen but he didn’t have theright paperwork the right equipmentnaturally yeah so it was a trip wowthat’s crazy yeah I’ll never forget thatone that’s nutsRob can you tell everyone the the mostintense and or terrifying call that youwere one of them that you were involvedin okay so fast forward to 1996 about or90 yeah right around 96 I was working avault with all peoplemondo linear again two-man car workingswing shift and this particular shiftthere was we were on F squad so eachsquad has about seven guys on it plus asergeant a corporal well right out ofthe gate on this particular day one ofour guys from our squad was down on thesouth end and he just happened to bestanding in the back side of in-and-outburger which backs up to thisneighborhoodwell the street you can access likethrough the neighborhood also throughthe main thoroughfare which is Gary wellwhile he’s standing there a drive-byshooting is occurringin the street so there’s these gangmembers shooting at a moving vehicle onthe street behind in and out and they’reusing like tech nines and I think an Uziso they’re lighting this truck up thereand they ended up killing the guy wellBryan Bozarth he grabs a shotgun out ofhis unit runs over to the back side ofit and out sees the suspects trying torun away so he starts shooting at him sowe have an officer-involved shootinggoing on the south in the town right outof briefing so that was that was crazyso fast forward a couple hours into thenight and it was a real cold nightworking a two-man car the South Southbeat five south southwest Pomona and wekept hearing shots like in the distantyou know like distinct they’re verythey’re like moving around but we canhear them every few minutes we hear powpow and so we we get dispatched to asuspicious circs call over in the 1000block of West 8th Street and this is aduplex it’s a two-story duplex the ladycalls police and says there’s somebodyon my front porch I don’t know who it isI can’t really see him it’s dark but Ican hear like a weird clicking noiselike he’s he looks like he’s seated onmy porch and he’s making this weirdclicking noise so we’re thinking maybeit’s related to the shooting the shotsfired to Cole we’re not sure right so weroll down the street and I remember assoon as we were getting closer to thehouse I just had this like voices in myhead I always had these little voicesit’s like you need to get out of car Idon’t know why I just felt like we hadto get out of the car felt like asitting duck yeah so me amando get outwe start making our approach on foot andwe had to go down this really longdriveway to get to the back and then wemake a sharp right turn and it’s alittle parking lot there was aVolkswagen bug parked right next to thefront part of the complex and thenlooking north it’s a it’s a stairwell upto the landing where this lady lives soher house is aof her garage so we see this guy reallydark I hit him with my flashlight he’swearing like a black leather trench coatit looks like he might be ever drunk ormaybe under the influence right so thenI show my light hey what’s going on whatare you doing you know Lucy your handsand the guy just looks at me and he’sgot this like just crazy look in hiseyes he doesn’t say it word and he comesup with his right hand with a six-inch357 it’s a hot round and bowhe starts letting them loose and I’mthinking oh my god I didn’t have achance to pull my gun out or anything soI just remember hitting the deck mandoretreated back to the driveway thecorner but I was stuck behind his fronttire of this Volkswagen so the bad guyhe didn’t obviously he missed me becauseI was still alive so I pulled my gun Istart laying down rounds up at the whereat last saw him and it’s so dark thatI’m basically shooting at muzzle flashso whatever your gun lights up the nightyeah and his where I can see him okayso this goes on the good terribly yeahforever I’m shooting I’m shooting and Irealize at at one point it looked like Imay have hit him a couple times becausehe’s wrong he’s rolled over on his sideand it looks like he’s like maybe tryingto do a reload or something so I’mthinking I’m in a bad spot becauseVolkswagen there’s no engine in thefront right yeah yeah yeah so I think inmy mind I think I’m gonna run to thegarage that’s open underneath him thenhe won’t be able to shoot at me rightand that seemed like a really good ideaat the time so I see the bad guys stilldoing what he’s doing I can’t see mandoso I make a break for it and probablylike three steps into it he startscoming back around so I don’t know whatto do so I just run up to stare straightat him and I just put in a magazine andI put the whole thing into him 13 roundsand then my slide locks back and he’sstill alivelooking at him and I just like scream ahoh my god so I jump off the side of thestairs into the grassI roll hit a fence run back to the VWand reload oh my god yeah so mondo startshooting from the back side of the car Icrawl back to where he’s at bad guy goesdown and now we’re just kind of at astandstill Wowyeah that’s insane yeah so I ended upfiring a total of 27 rounds I did tworeloads and I don’t remember any of themI bet and they ended up after everybodygot there we used a dog to bring himdown yeah he was still alive how manytimes was he shotfifteen were you guys carried for acaliber 45 caliber oh my with blacktalent rounds we can’t get any betterstopping power than that yeah you see Phe was he was a Southside village cripjust got paroled wasn’t a real bigfamily guy his family didn’t even try tosue Wow yeah so he ended up I think hewas pretty much dead at the at the pointthey brought him down the stairs butthey transom got into the hospital thedoctor was just amazed at how many holeshe had and like why did you bring methis yeah there’s not much I can do hereoh my goodness yeah but I ended uplosing a lot of hearing because the backside was the front complex of this itwas stucco and then I was surrounded bya block wall and in another building soI just remember each round was just soloud it was like cannon fire 57 Magnumis so loud anyway I mean when everyround I fired he was I could not hearanything I had ringing in my ear forprobably three weeks you still could youget tonight it’s still well yeah I havetinnitus all the time and I cannot evenwell plus you add eight years of acanine barking in your right in your earso when that when that hand cannon wasshooting at you I’ve never been shot atis it is it a different sound likebecause it’s I mean you’re gettingmuzzle flash rightyou I don’t even remember whip tripthrough the air I don’t remember thesound of his gun I just remember theflash the fire that came out of thebarrel cuz it was so dark that night andthere was no lighting back there at allnice and I immediately I guess I droppedmy flashlight because I never saw him Iwas just going by with a every time Isaw a flash yeah you go to sleep at allwhen you went home for that no I waslike for 12 hours I just wired rampedyeah when that happens and on your jobwould they would you how much time offwould you get we get some time to talkto someone and well then mandatory giveyou three days and then you have to getcleared by a shrink you probably I gotwhat’s the big deal I’m finewell I had all these I had a I hadseveral these occur like within a shortamount of time so I was at the point inmy career I’m thinking every day everyday every day I go to work it’s like ohmy god what’s gonna happen tonightyeah that must mean adrenalin dumps yabaldon thats like running your body onnitro yeah you kind of you kind of getaddicted to it though at a certain pointbecause you with that and and then allthe pursuits cuz I was really intostolen cars and I just I don’t know Ijust got a kick out of that okay Jasonbad guys not knowing what’s gonna happenreally doing stupid things you loved ityeah so after all those experiences andcountless experiences we haven’t heardabout how do you feel like it affectedyou I know we talked a little bit beforeabout your girlfriend you’re with nowand she’s not in police work or anythingI mean you at what point did you realizelike this job the negativity andconstant bombardment of all thoseexperiences made you kind of a differentperson than someone who goes to anine-to-five jobwell that’s and it’s weird because whenyou’re a cop you generally only hang outwith cops right you know I don’t knowwhy but it just seems to be that way soyou don’t really notice how odd ordifferent you are right but as I got inthis relationship with someone who hasnothing to do with law enforcementand all her friends are just normalfolks no law-enforcement didn’t youstart to realize how odd you are youjust you don’t even think the same rightyour mind just works differently yeahand you’re just you know it’s it’s kindof its kind of sad in a way you know Ithink we were so aware of everything allthe time that we never get a chance tojust relax right and it gets to beoverbearing yeah did they did they haveat your work do they have all three everhappens like an 800 number on the wallwell you know I ended up seeing a mentalhealth lady after my wife passed awayand before I met Tammy you know and youstart to realize that all this stuffdoes take a toll yeah it does physicallyyou know and if you don’t have a goodoutlet it’ll eat you up yeah absolutelyRob what would you what would you saywhat piece of advice could you offer toa new candidate a new recruit coming onthe job as a police officer any piece ofadvice you’d give them I think I would Iwould try to tell them to first avoidthe the cop diet that they all fall intoall right which you know you and I bothknow what that is eating shitty food allthe time but try to keep try to keepyour friends around that or normal youknow don’t just exclude yourself withjust cops and firemen or whatever that’sgood advice because it kind of keeps youI think it’ll keep you a little moregrounded and a little more aware of thereal world because we’re always dealingwith the problems that sometimes theseproblems have been building up for yearsand years and years and we’re expectedto solve you know family issues that infive minutes but they’ve been occurringfor 15 years right and and there’s no Imean we’re not training for thatyou know yep there were so many hatswith this job it’s just ridiculousabsolutely so I would I would you knowbe careful just understand what you’regetting yourself intogood stuff Rob thank you so much forcoming on the show I really appreciateit you have some fantastic experiencesyou shared no worries anytime hey guysthanks for checking out the podcast Ihope you enjoyed this interview if youdid and you want to show some supportfor the show please go to iTunessubscribe rate and review thank you somuch and I’ll see you next time

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