What do you do when a young rookie Kansas City Missouri cop is yelling at you to drop your weapon and your a 41 year old white male with your foot on the neck of a 16 year old black male and the barrel of your 9mm IWI baby desert eagle is pressing into his skull just above your left foot. That is where I found myself 7 years ago. That moment stands frozen in time in my memory. Although that is not where this story begins.
In spring of 2010 I was managing about 50 properties, trying to buy a house and was getting ready to file for divorce. I was 41 and had 3 children ranging from 8 to 13.
It was a cool April night and I was awaken by the ringing of my phone. It must have been midnight and Tyrone was calling me. Tyrone is a tall slender and muscular black man that was in his late 40’s, served in the US Army as a Ranger. Although Tyrone was getting thinner by the day because of his drug use. He was always reliable and a good person. So, when he called, I always answered. “Tyrone whats up”? “Mike, you need to get over here, there is some shit that’s bout to go down”. I sat on the side of the bed and gathered my thoughts. “What do you mean”? “I mean, there’s a bunch of thugs out back and shit is going to get hot”. I told Tyrone to hang tight and I will be there shortly. I was at 57th st living with my beautiful Hungarian girlfriend and had an ex-meth addict living in the basement, that’s a whole nother story). By the way meet Kenny “Fuckin” Farmer (KFF). That is how he always introduced himself. Hi, I’m Kenny Fuckin Farmer, who are you? I think it was actually his given name. Either that or every time he got into trouble his mom would yell “Kenny Fucking Farmer get your ass in here”. So, he took on the persona. As I said, we were living at 57th and the Tyrone was living in the 8 plex I managed at 9th st.
As I jumped out of bed, I went to the top of the stairs and yelled at Kenny. “Farmer, you up”? Of course he was, it was only midnight. “Shit is going down at Tyrones, we need to move”. I’m sure you are wondering why? Why are you going out to rescue Tyrone and a building? Why not just call the police, crawl back into bed and get cozy with your beautiful Hungarian girlfriend? Why? Because that is what I do. I can’t leave it up to the police, I have to be there to make sure my people are OK and the building is all good. Especially Tyrone, he is one of the good guys and would hate to see anything happen to him.
I grab my 9mm baby eagle and the mossberg 6 round pump action.
As Kenny comes up the steps I hand him my shotgun and say “do not use it unless they shoot first”. I say that because, as a general rule, most of the thugs in the area can’t shoot for shit. They don’t train, or clean their weapon and they use ammo that has been in their pocket for weeks, if they even have ammo. So the advice don’t shoot unless they shoot first is pretty sound advice. As we went out the door A2 (Hungarian GF) kissed me and said be careful. She didn’t question the why, she always stood by me and said “go, but be careful”. She understood the why and who I was. I digress, we hopped in my 1979 ford Econoline with the 351 Windsor motor in it and took off. As we were on the way I did make the call to the police and specifically told them that there were young men with guns behind the building and to use the driveway on the 9th street side. It must have taken us minutes to get there, because as soon as I got off the phone with the police I was at 12th st. I went to 8th st and waited just around the corner from the building. I knew that the cops would either be coming down 8th st or the street in front of me which was Indiana. I sat there for about 3 minutes and then I see a patrol car pull around and in front of me and then another one stops on Indiana just before 8th street. As the cops stage their vehicles I put the van in drive and hold the brake down. The car in front of me takes off around the corner and the patrol car behind him follows behind with me hot on their six. They stop out in front of the building. Did I not tell the dispatcher to tell them to use the driveway on the 9th st side? Yes, yes I did. As the police are stopping out front, I fly around them and go up the 9th st side of the building. Now, this driveway is basically made of gravel, dirt and mud and is a steep incline up and then levels out. When I came up the driveway at 40 mph and then threw it in park, the van slid about 15 feet in the mud and before it stopped I was out of the van and running towards a group of about 8 young men yelling at them to stop. Kenny was somewhere behind me. one of the men ran towards me and then turned to run back to the building. I gave chase and he went towards the back stairs of the building and I remember being on the bottom step and the young man I was chasing had to be on the 3rd or 4th step because if you stopped everything you would see me with my 9mm in hand and the man I was chasing reaching in the back of his pants and pulling out a chrome plated 45mm pistol. That’s all I saw. A flash of chrome and his hand coming around to the front of him. Now the young man I was chasing was Akuru Chan and was 16 almost 17 years old. When he pulled the 45 pistol out I had a decision. Get to him before he turns and shoots me, turn around and run or shoot him in the back. I decided to go after him. Listen, I know it was not the greatest of choices, but the other two choices were not in my playbook at the time. As I went up those 7 or 8 steps it felt like someone grabbed me by the back of my shirt and threw me up the steps. As Akuru Chan went around the corner, I grabbed him by the back of the neck with my left hand and put him to the deck at the top of the stairs. As he went to the ground I put my left foot on the back of his neck and drove my 9mm into the back of his skull with my left hand fanned out next to the barrel of my pistol as if to shield me from any blood that might fly if I had to pull the trigger. As I have Akuru Chan on the ground and clearly he is no longer a threat, a young rookie cop is at the bottom of the steps yelling at me to drop my weapon. How did I know he is a rookie? Well, in Kansas City, as a rookie trainee you are in a grey or lighter blue uniform. This rookie yelled at me to drop my weapon. I yelled back “fuck you, get me some handcuffs”. He repeated his request “I said drop your weapon” I then repeated the same “I said fuck you, get me some handcuffs”. At that moment a familiar face came around the building and says “Hey Mike whats going on”. It was as cool as that, no yelling, no weapon drawn. Just a friendly, hey, how ya doin, can we take that thug out from under your foot, kinda cool. I calmly said ” I could use some handcuffs”, “Not sure what he has on him but he did have a 45 somewhere”. I took my foot off Akuru Chan and holstered my weapon. As the two officers took him down the stairs, cuffed him and brought him around to the front where the patrol cars were. As I was walking toward the cops Kenny yelled at me and said that they missed the weapon and that it was in the stove on the deck. I called to one of the cops and brought him up the stairs to where the weapon was. They had Akuru Chan and one other guy. They found some drugs, a stolen Xbox 360 and the weapon with the serial number scrapped off. I thought that was not to bad of an arrest. But then I was told that Mr. Chan was only 16 and would most likely not do any time.
I stood around talking with one of the tactical officers, I think he was part of the narc unit at the time. As I am re-telling the story I asked him what would I have done if I made the split second decision to shoot him in the back? He said to me, with a straight face, “you turn him over and put two in his chest” To this day I hear those words and just cringe. Two in his chest? I have made some last minute decisions in my life, and thank God, they have all turned out spectacular, but “two in the chest” has never been close to one of those decisions and will never be.
Akuru Chan is now 24 years old and serving a 12 year sentence in a Missouri prison for 1st degree burglary and attempted robbery. I really would have like to have looked up his name and seen the he graduated from college and was working as a youth advocate in the system. We have all failed the Akuru Chans of our community. I blame his parents, his immediate family and friends, the system, the community. Somewhere, someone could have been a better role model and or influence.
By the way Kenny “Fuckin” Farmer is no longer using meth and is living with his “old lady” who is in the legal profession. Which is good news for Kenny! As for the beautiful Hungarian Girlfriend? We were together for over 8 years and she is now living in Portland with her awesome dog Sodapop and cat Indie.
Sometimes a stranger needs a friend. I always say to go out and make new strangers. It’s also OK to be a friend to that stranger and leave it at that.
Thank you for reading my blog.