Special Feature


Mark's Friggin' Brush with a Dead Man - May 30th, 2003

Mark's Friggin Neighbor Shot And Killed In Police Shootout!

Damn! What the hell is going on in this world? Earlier this morning, May 30th, 2003, I was working on this web site of mine. While I'm typing it up I usually have the TV on, with no sound of course, and have something like The Weather Channel tuned in. For some reason that I can't explain, I decided to turn on the local FOX news, just so there was something other than a friggin weather map filling up my TV screen. At one point in the morning I glanced up and saw a helicopter shot of a crime scene. At the bottom of the screen was a graphic that read ''Franklin Township.'' That's kind of close to where I live so I hit the record button on my TiVo. The TiVo is great because it goes back up to a half hour of the channel you've been watching and records it. Anyway, when Howard went to commercial break, I decided to watch that news report. My girlfriend was home so she was checking it out as well. As I was watching it I jokingly said ''That looks like Justin's (my neighbor) car.'' I smiled at my girlfriend and kind of peeked around the corner of my living room wall and out the front window. I usually see Justin's little black Honda Civic sitting there. Not this time... This time I saw a NJ State Police car sitting in his driveway! Holy shit! That was my neighbor's car on the news! There were few details at the time but things weren't looking good for him. As the day went on and the State Troopers circulated the street, I found out more and more about what had happened. As of this writing, Justin McCarthy was the one who was shot and killed after allegedly shooting a Washington Township police officer in the face and arm. News reports were saying the shooter was wearing a bulletproof vest and had a .45 calibur weapon holstered under it. When the cops pulled him over at three in the morning or so, a scuffle broke out and Justin shot the cop. Another officer took some shots at Justin which killed him at the scene. The injured cop was airlifted out and was listed in critical condition for most of the day. He was later ''upgraded'' to stable condition. What the hell? I live in this tiny, one square mile town out in rural Western, New Jersey. Stuff like this isn't supposed to happen out here... but it did. I hope the cop, Patrolman John Schramm, pulls through. He was just doing his job, he didn't deserve this.

You hear people on the news talking about neighbors who committed crimes saying stuff like ''He was nice... kept to himself... didn't think he was capable of doing something like that...'' Well, that's what I would have said about this 22 year old kid Justin. He was always really polite and friendly to us when we saw him. That wasn't often, but he was always waved as he drove off in that little black Honda Civic. I'm certainly not defending him... just saying that you never know who you have living in your neighborhood and what they're capable of. Today was really weird for me. A guy who had been my neighbor for about 7 years is dead and I have no idea what the hell drove him over the edge. I probably never will.

UPDATE 6/8/03 - More news about this crazy bastard came out after the shooting. The cops found multiple guns and rounds of ammunition in his vehicle. They also searched his home and found more weapons, ammo and 97 pot plants growing in the second floor of his home. They valued each plant at approximately $2000. No one had a clue on our street. The guy never had that many visitors to his house. There really wasn't any suspicious activity going on over there that we noticed. Like I said, you never know. Then there was the bizarre memorial that was set up in front of his home. An Irish Flag was set up on his garage door with messages scrawled on it. There were also multiple candles lit for him. I never went near it because I found it kind too f'd up to even look at. I later read that people seem to find him some kind of idol and ''soldier.'' That's just great. Glorifying someone who shot a cop? Makes no sense to me.

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