Ler’s stop berating the media long enough to crown Leslie Linthicum of the Albuquerque Journal with laurels for her report on the injury, long (and still risky) recovery, and remarkable character of Bernallillo County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robin Hopkins. Hopkins, the mother of a toddler, took an AK round in the worst and the best possible place.
It was the worst possible place because the steel-cored FMJ round came through her cruiser door and hit her well below the vest. It crashed into her hipjoint, destroying a section of the femur, and, even more alarming, both branches of the femoral artery and the single-branched femoral vein. The bullet lodged in her shattered thigh. But it was the best possible place because of where the wound occured in the physical world. As the criminal sped away to a rendezvous with other officers, and his own mortality, Hopkins’s bullet-riddled Charger coasted to a stop right in front of a fire/rescue station. When seconds count, sometimes the Lord (or blind luck, if you prefer) delivers succor in seconds. Firemen and cops got a tourniquet on — a lesson of GWOT war trauma experience — and rushed her to the hospital.
Here’s a small sample of Ms Linthicum’s excellent report, the part to do with the perpetrator, whose history will not surprise anyone who pays attention to violent crime:
On Oct. 26, Christopher Chase got up in the morning and taped a note to his front door. It gave contact information for his next of kin. He walked a few blocks over to Broadway with two guns and the intention to live up to his knuckle tattoo: Cop killer.
Chase, according to APD Police Chief Allen Banks, had his first run-ins with Albuquerque police in 1992 when he was 14. He was identified as the suspect in property crimes and was arrested for family violence. His record from then on shows another eight arrests – for domestic violence in 1993, battery on a household member in 1994, disorderly conduct and evading officers in 2000, embezzlement in 2004, and a string of arrests for warrants and failing to appear.
Chase was the suspect but not charged as a juvenile and an adult in several burglaries, criminal damage to property cases, in a car theft, an identity theft and a vehicle embezzlement case.
Banks imagines that when Chase went out on that Saturday morning, he was probably picturing a shootout that would settle up his score with police.
When he pulled up next to Hopkins at Fourth and Schulte, aimed his rifle out the window and fired bang, bang, bang, bang, he didn’t see a mother of two children, or a runner, or a yoga practitioner, or a wife or a friend. All he saw was a police car and a badge.
“That was the guy’s intention, to kill cops,” Hopkins says. “It wasn’t personal; it wasn’t Robin Hopkins. It was what I stand for. And I’m OK with that.”
“And fortunately,” she adds, “he did he not kill cops, and he didn’t hurt one citizen.”
The scrote in question, Christopher Chase, was a career criminal with a record of convictions stretching for over 20 years of his 35-year life.
Chase had “cop killer” tattooed on his knuckles, but he was a failure even at that antisocial ambition. He wounded four cops, of whom the very alive Hopkins was the most seriously injured. (Her runner’s and yogini’s fitness was probably a factor in her survival, as well as the good fortune of getting shot in front of a building full of paramedics and EMTs).
As a felon, Chase could not legally have acquired the Romanian Cugir Draco AK or Yugoslavian Zastava Tokarev that he had during his shooting spree (all the wounds appear to have been from the AK). It’s true that Linthicum makes a small technical error in referring to the con’s Draco pistol as a “rifle,” but as the Draco is a shortened, stockless derivation of the AK, it’s an error many steeped in the gun culture would also make, and we can’t hold it against her.
Romanian AKs like that, WASR rifles and Draco pistols, were the principal weapons “walked” to Mexican cartel buyers by ATF agents along the Southwest border. It’s unknown whether Hopkins and the three leg-wounded Albuquerque city cops need to be added to the list of at least three American and several hundred Mexican law officers shot with ATF-furnished guns. Everyone should remember that the ATF agents and managers who enabled that spree of cop-killings, and possibly this spree of attempted cop-killings, have mostly been promoted or otherwise given unusual benefits: the only exceptions have been the whistleblowers who dared to talk to Congress or the media.
Returning to the article, Ms Linthicum also reports, en passant, what Deputy Hopkins thinks of citizens’ Second Amendment rights. It’s worth clicking over to the ABQ Journal for that alone. As to what Ms Linthicum thinks of gun law and policy, that’s completely absent from her article, which is a credit to her and her editors. She lets the participants and the facts tell the story.
There are still some questions you will have after the article (how did Chase die, exactly? How many rounds were fired by cops and Chase?) but you can answer some of them with other stories in the same paper.
They used to call it reporting. Please go read. Wouldn’t it be nice if it caught on?