There is a sharpshooter at the corner of my building. He is laying in the grass with a scoped rifle. He has been there since about 7am this morning. My little quiet street in Decatur has become a SWAT zone. We can’t leave and people who are out can’t come in.

You see, it all started at about 5:45am this morning when I awoke to the terrifying screams of a female. My first thought was that someone was being raped over at the MARTA parking lot, then I heard her screech “My mother’s in there!”. I jumped out of bed and called 911, with the thought that someone was bleeding to death or somesuch.

With my heart pounding in my ears, I pulled on some clothes and rushed out into the darkness to help in whatever way I could. The thought that I might be in danger didn’t cross my mind at the time.

The screaming stopped as I crossed the street and approached a small cluster of women from the neighborhood. In the center of this cluster was a 9 year old girl that I knew from a nearby building. Then I realized that she was the one that had been screaming for help.

The little girl told us that her mother was ‘going to be killed’ by a man that used to be the mother’s boyfriend. She said that the man had been released from jail and had come back to her home. She said that he had a gun and he’d threatened to kill her, her mother and himself. When he grabbed her mother, the little girl had fled in horror and screamed for help.

As everyone in Atlanta knows by now, thanks to the oh-so-vigilant media, the perpetrator had been banished by the little girl’s mother almost a year ago and he had a restraining order to stay away from our street. We all risked our lives to rescue that little girl and we didn’t even realize the danger at the time. Even as the first officers rushed around the building, we stood across the street in plain view of the place where all the gun waving had occurred. The cops came and took the little girl away and shooed us back into our homes.

It is currently 2:45 in the afternoon and the perp is still holed up with the little girl’s mother and we watch the news to find out what is happening 2 doors down. The sharpshooter is still in the grass and SWAT team people tromp back and forth behind my house. At least the media are at the other end of the street.

I feel like I am in some sort of bizarre dream. I worry about the little girl and her mother. The 9 year old girl has always impressed me with her intelligence and bearing. I’ve always thought her to be very mature for her age, but when this trauma happened, I was jolted back to reality. She is just a little girl who doesn’t know if she’ll have a mother or not until this is over. And that is just not fair.

Mustang theft follow-up and a Jesus Freak anecdote in the Extra edition.