Tuesdays are my day off. But I switched with a coworker so she could go visit her grandchild in Columbus, OH. There was something about yesterday that didn't sit well. My facebook post was "Tuesday. Please go away and come back another day." Weird.
I got to the street that divides the library/police station/park and slowed to let a couple cross. He was black, she was white. They were just people coming from the park to the parking lot. But I noticed by her body language that she seemed "pissed" and assumed something like an affair must have ended. She was dressed in a dark pantsuit and heels like on her way to work. He was in a tshirt/shorts/flipflops like on his day off. It's was already warm and humid for the start of autumn. His flipflop slipped off in the wet grass. Usually people in the park are walking, jogging, out with their dogs so this couple seemed a little out of place.
I turned towards the library and was the first librarian there to open it. I was on teen desk, at the far end so I didn't see or hear anything. I heard on the pa system "get away from the door! move away from the door!" I thought someone broke the door or got stuck. Then a patron was standing by our big windows and pointing and saying "oh my god!" So I went over by him and asked "what's going on?" He said, "there's been a shooting!" I said, "No way! Not here. At the library?!" He said, "two people are on the ground!" So I hurried to the front of the library and asked my coworker what happened. She said a patron came in screaming that people had been shot in the parking lot. I asked "who is shot?" She said "a man shot a woman." I said "was he black and she white because I passed this couple on my way in!"
My coworker Wendy had called 911 while my other coworker tried to get reception to press the panic button (it goes to police station who are right across the parking lot) but she was now answering the phone ringing off the hook. Edna took off to secure the back door and ran into another coworker who just arrived at 9:15am and witnessed the man shoot himself in the head. The director was not in the building but other dept heads were and was handling securing everybody inside. The library went on lockdown. Some patrons in the library who were doing their studying or work and didn't seem aware of the tense situation unfolding in the parking lot. Patrons were in the parking lot, some with their kids, witnessed the tragedy and called 911. The 5 patrons in my area were by the windows with me watching a unbelievable scene at my library: a body being loaded into an ambulance, crime tape going around that part of the lot, detectives with clipboards, a dozen of police cars lighted up, a relative I assumed arriving and running toward police and what looked like being told of something awful.
Later, I gave my statement to police, which was nothing except seeing the couple a half hour before the shooting. We were told to go home at 11:30a and that the library would close the rest of the day. A woman died in our parking lot, who was a cop, by a cop who was her husband. And he was a homicide detective, and featured on The First 48. It could've been much worse and I'm glad no one else was hurt. But so sad. And wondering how work will go since what happened is still sinking in.