Last night I arrived home to find that my apartment building was inside the perimeter of a crimescene. It offered a very different perspective on the sight, one few novelists (and never on television) describe. I was not there as a reporter, nor a witness, neither casual observer nor victim.
I finally was allowed to enter in order to go home. My brother, on the other hand, was not allowed to retrieve his car to go to work; no one could leave the building. The police dogs aggresively reinforced the point.
The victim was a 16 year old boy killed at the corner a few doors away. Police suspected his killer or killers were still in the area, so an area of several city blocks was abuzz with activity; hundreds of residents were similarly stuck in or outside of the tape. The LAPD helicopters were present for quite a while, shining their bright searchlights from over head in asurreal sci-fi scene. One isn't allowed to get to sleep until the LAPD helicopters leave.
Not until early in the morning was the crimescene tape lifted. There was no sign of what had happened with the perps.
Not just because of the wildfires, I doubt that news of the youth's murder would make the news.
Today, a small circle of squat Indian Latina women and teenage girls were near the site of the homicide, speaking quietly amongst themselves. I'm glad that they weren't present last night to see the casual banter and blase attitude of the police involved, though I suppose they'd be more than familiar with that type of decorum. The street is traversed by a number of school-aged children going to and from the junior high school up the street who don't live in the neighborhood. My block is far from gentrified (the Land Rovers are only spitting distance away though), but this isn't a normal occurance for the neighborhood, either.
Besides the group of grieving women, only a few lengths of the many strands of police tape hung from poles and trees and some of the residue left by the flares in the street gave any indication something had even taken place.