Don’t Shoot!
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“Don’t Shoot!” Ensign, April 2016, 78–79

Latter-day Saint Voices

Don’t Shoot!

Latter-Day Saint Voices

Illustration by Allen Garns

Bob and I sat in our police car, waiting for a sign of movement down the street. We had begun our stakeout two hours earlier after spotting the car mentioned in a police radio alert.

“Stickup in progress,” the alert had said. “Two males, both armed. They were just seen in an orange car. Witnesses say the men are brutal and willing to shoot.”

A rash of recent armed robberies had occurred in the area, yet despite our best efforts, the robbers had repeatedly escaped. These thoughts fled my mind as soon as I saw two figures come out of a home on the darkened street and hop into the orange car. They were now heading our way.

“Requesting a backup unit,” I said. “Suspects rolling northbound from our location.”

Our backup, two plainclothes detectives in an unmarked car, pulled ahead of the car while Bob and I followed. After our three vehicles had entered a bridge, our backup suddenly stopped crossways on the bridge in front of the orange car and we parked behind it, boxing in our suspects. Almost immediately, the car stopped and both figures ducked out of sight.

“Step out of the car with your hands on your head!” I ordered after getting out of my car. No one responded.

Braced and ready to fire, I again commanded, “Step out of the car with your hands on your head. Do it now!”

Suddenly the driver rose up and turned toward me. I could see a nickel-plated object flash in his hands.

My police training and common sense dictated that I pull the trigger to save my life. But above the tension of the moment, I heard a voice. It was calm but authoritative and powerful: “Don’t shoot!”

I expected to be shot any moment, but I waited for someone in the car to open fire first. Instead, the driver raised his hands, lifted over his head what looked like a gun, and dropped his hands into his lap.

“Freeze!” I said as I rushed to the car. “Don’t move!”

The moment felt like a TV show—until I realized that the hardened criminals in the car were actually two frightened young girls. What I had thought was a gun was only a seat-belt buckle.

The girls, we soon learned, had loaned the car to their boyfriends. They had no idea what kind of men they were.

“I thought you were dead, Cal!” Bob told me later. “I almost opened fire. I don’t know why I didn’t.”

The two detectives in the unmarked car said the same thing, though no one but me heard the voice. I know that only the power of heaven could have saved those two girls from death and four police officers from making a tragic mistake. This experience gave me a sure knowledge that our Heavenly Father can and will intervene for our benefit.