My wife Tracy discovered a strange and scary scene in front of our house this morning, while getting back from walking the dog. On our front porch — in addition to the morning newspaper — was a discarded pair of jean shorts with a belt, bloodstained work boots and socks, a large puddle of coagulated blood, and a half-dozen quarter-sized spots of blood — all about a foot from our front door.
We’re not crime scene investigators, of course, but it appeared that the person staggered up to our front porch, sat on the ledge of the flowerbed, and bled onto the concrete for a while. The person smashed one of Tracy’s plants and knocked over several others, took off his boots, socks, and shorts, sat and bled for a bit, figuring out what to do, and then left.
We canceled our breakfast plans and called Fresno PD. They dispatched Officer Maynez, who slipped on his rubber gloves and poked around at the items. “So, these aren’t yours?” he asked. He found a single folded dollar in the pants pocket and noted what he called a significant amount of blood on the porch and on the boots. He speculated that maybe someone ran from a DUI, but he said that those kinds of incidents usually involve the person discarding their shirt in order to avoid description. After taking some notes, he then asked us for a paper bag so he could pick up the items, recommended we clean things up with a generous dose of bleach, and then at my request gave us a couple pairs of rubber gloves to protect ourselves.
Officer Maynez said he would make a report on the call, in case “there was a homicide or a shooting or something” nearby. I asked him if he would need any photos or samples of the blood. He said, “No, there’s plenty of blood on the shoes if we need DNA.” I went to Walgreens and bought a cheap jug of bleach and a scrubber. I slipped on the gloves that Officer Maynez gave us, doused all the bloody spots with bleach, and scrubbed the porch clean. Tracy then hosed everything off and we righted her overturned plants.
The whole sequence reminded me of an incident in 2004, when my brother from another mother, Eric Parker, first moved in. It was Eric’s first night in the house and he walked out to his car the next morning to bring in some of his things. He noticed that my garage had been tagged with graffiti. We discovered later that day that our neighbor’s front door and car had also been tagged, as well as the baseball backstops in the park across the street. It was a rude welcome to the neighborhood for Eric, and it was the kind of unsettling incident that happens in the dead of night that we often do not see until morning.