Downtown/Sat March 6/3:15 am: Officer Christopher Gregorio reports: "I was working with my partner Officer John Marion on uniformed bike patrol. While on First Avenue, we were passing by a parking lot when I observed several males sitting in an idling black Lexus (4dr). As I was riding past the car, the two front occupants slouched down in what I perceived as an attempt to conceal themselves from us.
"I got off my bike, walked up to the front passenger window, and identified myself as a Seattle Police officer. I ordered everyone to show me their hands and all occupants complied. I asked them why they were just sitting in the parking lot, and the driver stated they were just getting ready to go into a nearby nightclub. I told them that there is a lot of gang activity in this area and slumping down as we approached made them suspicious.
"I asked to see identification. The driver with a high-pitched voice said, 'Why?' The driver (whom I can identify) slammed the gearshift (which was between the driver and passenger) into reverse and began backing up. I drew my gun and ordered him to stop. I could hear two voices shout: 'GO, GO, GO!'
"I took two steps with the vehicle, continuously ordering them to stop. The driver, who did not comply, put the vehicle into drive and drove his car toward me at a high rate of speed. I had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. I immediately broadcast my location, vehicle, and suspect information to south radio... Another officer located the vehicle at Rainier Avenue South and Massachusetts Street. The vehicle was still traveling at a high rate of speed and in a reckless and wanton manner, but the officer lost sight of the vehicle."
The mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers of the men in the black Lexus must call Officer Gregorio and thank him for not pulling that trigger. The blast of bullets, explosions of glass, blood everywhere, screaming ambulances, confusion in the emergency room, the final flat line—this tragedy was only a squeeze away.
The officer needs to be thanked not only because he did the right/rational thing but also because the media and community organizations are in the habit of expressing great interest in officers who do pull the trigger in tough or suspicious situations, expressing little to no interest in the many officers who do not. True, the men in the Lexus got away, and small is the number of us who would be surprised to learn that one or all of them will end up in prison or dead before old age. But for now, the forces of life did not lose to the tireless forces of death. We have Officer Christopher Gregorio to thank for that slim victory.