first [retired] reporter on the scene . . .

Arriving to a crime scene as the ambulance and fire trucks are pulling up is nothing new for me.  As a reporter, it happened all the time.  But I’m not a reporter anymore.

Wednesday night, a dinner out with friends turned into the scene of a tragedy.  As we were leaving the restaurant, the chaos was unfolding.  People running and screaming someone had been shot.  People describing the gunshots they’d just heard.  Sirens blaring as the trucks turned down the side street and came to a stop.  Right in front of my friends’ car.

As a retired reporter, I did what I always did.  Assessed the scene.  It’s hard to explain if you have never been a news reporter, but your movements are almost robotic.  It’s like someone flips the emotion switch off.  You have a job to do.  And strangely, that happened for me again.  It wasn’t until the next day this tragedy hit me.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 9.16.25 AM

Loved ones were running; frantic.

“He was shot in the head.  He was working.”

Two men made their way down to where the ambulance parked.  When they returned to the intersection where we stood like statues watching, the older of the two men broke down, falling onto the sidewalk.  He got on the phone.

“Call her.  Tell her he was shot.  He’s not going to make it.  It doesn’t matter what happened, she needs to get to the hospital now.”

* * *

I woke up the next morning and immediately checked news websites and my twitter feed.  The shooting got very real as I saw the face of the man who died.  So young.  He has children.  It’s an all-too-familiar story for those of us in the media [or those of us who used to be], but I am not at the scene digging for more information today.  I’m just a witness who is forced to carry on…and wonder.

Family: Blind Rabbit employee shot, killed while taking trash out 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man was shot and killed near the Blind Rabbit restaurant Wednesday night in Riverside.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded just after 10 p.m. to the reported shooting. JSO said the victim, who has been identified as Daniel Rowe, was shot in the head twice.

Rowe worked at the restaurant, and was a bus boy. Police said he was shot while taking the trash out.

Rowe was taken to UF Health Jacksonville for treatment of life-threatening injuries. His mother, Raelyn Rowe, told Action News he later died.

Raelyn said he was going to turn 21 in a couple of weeks.

 “We do believe there were two suspects involved,” said JSO Sgt. Craig Waldrup. “We don’t have any specific descriptions of them.”

A friend and former co-worker told Action News he had a young daughter, son and a baby on the way.

“My husband was actually working across the street at Kickbacks at the time and the executive chef for Blind Rabbit ran over and got him. So we knew almost immediately,” said Raelyn. 

The manager of Kickback said he is making sure employees walk home in pairs after the shooting.

Anyone who has any information in regards to this incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000.

“All he wanted to do was work and support his family,” Raelyn said. “He was such an amazing man, and he will be sadly missed.


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