Richard Burt

2315 hours x 0750 hours

Jurisdiction: Manhattan, New York
Time: mid-1990s

Untitled fine art photograph by form PxHere

2310 hours. On a hot summer’s night, I turned onto the NYPD’s 2-4 Precinct block and parked in my usual space. I made my way into the locker room and changed into my uniform. I also checked in with a few 4 x 12 cops. They had had a busy day with three robberies and four collars.

2325 hours. The briefing room was crammed with cops. The Lieutenant gruffed out our assignments. About halfway through, he landed on me. “Burt,” he called. “Sector George-King, RMP[1] 1503.” He did not glance up from his clipboard. “Here,” I said. He checked my name and continued. After the count, he barked, “Keep your numbers up.”

2340 hours. We piled into our RMPs. Central had been holding jobs. We shared the channel with three other precincts, the 19th, the 2-0, and Central Park. The radio crackled with crime: 10-52[2] 580 Amsterdam Avenue; 10-10[3] drug sales 104th Street and Manhattan Ave; 10-53[4] 96th Street and Westside Highway; 10-10 involving a gun 107th Street and Amsterdam. I responded, “2-4 George to Central, we’ll take the gun run 1-0-7 and Amsterdam. Is there a description of the perp?” Central returned, “2-4 George male black blue jeans and white t-shirt, unit to back 2-4 George man with a gun 1-0-7 and Amsterdam?” 2-4 David and 2-4 Henry offered back up. We arrived in minutes. Eight young men matched the description. We drew our weapons and they froze. We tossed[5] them. No guns were found. We ascertained this call was a bunch of punks making too much racket. We marked the job as 90X[6]. 

0045 hours. 10-52 103rd Street and Manhattan Avenue. On our way over, the job escalated to a dispute with a knife. We found a Caucasian male, age 25 to 30, bleeding from his forearm. He was angry and wanted a fight. He claimed “they” were out to get him. A woman, presumably his wife, whispered to him. We called a bus[7]. The job was marked as 93C[8] and 97H’d[9] to St. Luke’s.

0103 hours. An EDP[10] 2410 Broadway, apartment 301. A middle-aged woman explained she came home and found her son acting erratically. She also said he suffered from “delusions.” The EDP had barricaded himself inside his bedroom. We asked Central the ETA for the ESU[11] and the bus. ESU was 10-84[12]; the bus was two minutes out. We heard the EDP throwing things around. We knocked on the door and called his name. No response. We knocked again and asked him to come out. He threw something against the door. We decided to break in. On our first try, we crashed through. It was four against one and in less than 30 seconds, the EDP was on the floor, under control. Then his mother jumped in. She was loud and pushy and tried to reason with the boy. We threatened to arrest her for OGA[13] if she continued. The EDP was 97H’d to St. Luke’s.

0135 hours. 10-30[14] 93rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. We raced to the scene, lights and siren. A hysterical woman approached us. We sat her inside the RMP and began to canvass for the perp. We asked for a description. She only remembered he was a black male with a blue cap; he held a knife to her throat and grabbed her purse. He then ran east on 93rd Street toward Columbus Avenue. We shared the description with Central; they broadcasted the information to all other units. We came across a black male on 94th Street and Central Park West that matched the description. We jumped out. I pointed my Glock 19 9mm at him. My partner wielded a six-shot Smith & Wesson .38. We yelled “FREEZE” and he stopped. I covered him while my partner tossed him. He was clean. We asked the woman if this were the guy and she said no. After further canvassing with no results, we made a report for the detectives and dropped the victim off at her residence.

0240 hours. 10-52[15] 33 West 104th Street, Apartment 4E. We backed up 2-4 Charlie. We found a woman’s face bashed in. She was Caucasian, 45 to 50 years old. The living room walls were spattered with blood. The husband claimed to have “no idea” what happened. His clothing was speckled with blood and we found a bloody wooden mallet on the kitchen floor in the corner. 2-4 Charlie notified Central one under (arrest). We called a bus for the victim.

0600 hours. The 2-0 was in pursuit of a stolen cab. The chase moved into the 2-4. The Checker was racing straight for us. It got close- closer- closest and swerved, sideswiped a parked car, jumped the curb, and landed on the sidewalk. The perp climbed out and fled. In less than a block, he was met with a hail of fists and boots.

0642 hours. 10-10. The radio buzzed shots fired 108th Street and Central Park West. Not our sector but we let Central know we were heading over for backup.

0646 hours. Second call regarding shots, this time CONFIRMING shots fired inside Central Park. We switched to lights and siren. When we arrived, all was quiet. Sectors Park Adam and Park David found a male victim, Caucasian, age 35 to 40, shot in the head. They put a rush on the bus. The victim was on his side on a bench. A revolver was on the ground. They searched his pockets and found an NYPD badge. It was later determined this was an off-duty cop’s attempt at suicide.

0750 hours EOT[16]. I signed out on the roll sheet, changed back into street clothes, and left the building. I told the Lieutenant good night.

“OK,” he said. “See you at square dancing.”

[1] Radio Motor Patrol
[2] Dispute
[3] Possible crime
[4] Vehicle accident
[5] searched
[6] Unfounded
[7] ambulance
[8] Complaint/No arrest
[9] Ambulance case disposition/Patient removed to hospital
[10] Emotionally Disturbed Person
[11] Emergency Service Unit
[12] Arrived at Scene
[13] Obstructing Governmental Administration
[14] Robbery in progress
[15] Family dispute
[16] End of Tour


About the writer:
Richard Burt was sworn in as a NYPD police officer on February 28, 1994, and retired in May, 2014. His first assignment was the 24th Precinct in Manhattan. After a brief assignment at the 19th Precinct, he transferred to the Intelligence Division at City Hall, plain clothes, executive protection. When a Brooklyn council member was assassinated on July 23, 2003, Officer Burt shot and killed the perpetrator. The next day he was promoted to detective. Richard finished his career in an anti-terrorist unit of the Intelligence Division. He now enjoys the scenery in upstate NY with his dog, Toffee.

Image: Untitled fine art photograph by form PxHere