Saturday, July 26, 2008

Real Life...Real Close!

Sometimes the bad, scary things of life
hit just a bit too close. In this case
it was friends about three hours away...
but still this was too close!

My Dad had been the Administrator of
WTLR Radio Station in State College
for about twenty years before his passing in 2005.

As a teenager, I volunteered in this building.
For a while I was actually an employee.

Yesterday, a very mentally ill man came
to the station intending to do harm to
those inside. Those people were my friends.
One of those is my former Pastor's wife, Sharon.
She and Keith have been dealing with Keith's
cancer diagnosis. I blogged about that several
months ago.

We often cannot imagine how quickly our lives
could change. How suddenly all we know can
be different.

Here is the link from the Centre Daily Times
about the shootout and quotes from those dear
friends of ours.

An excerpt from the story...there are photos at the site:
The incident began just after 10 a.m. when police across Centre County began broadcasting that they were searching for a bearded man driving a white Ford Bronco and that the man was thought to be mentally unbalanced and armed with a shotgun.

Neiman, about 9:30 a.m., had walked into Log Cabin Motors in Spring Township, laid a loaded shotgun on the counter and told one of the owners he needed money. He said he was on his way to WTLR radio station at 2020 Cato Ave. because he wanted to broadcast something going on in his life. He rambled about a conspiracy involving drugs and said the FBI and police wouldn’t help him.

As soon as Neiman left, Jason Penland, son of one the owners, called the radio station and then called police.

The station received the call at 10:05 a.m.

“The person called and said there was someone they knew and he was upset and he was headed our way with intent to do harm,” WTLR station manager Mark VanOuse said.

That telephone call may have been the difference between life and death for people in the station offices, VanOuse said.

“I owe this individual my life,” he said. “I hate to think what would have happened had this individual (Neiman) showed up. He was armed for bear.” He said Ferguson Township police, alerted by the same person, arrived almost immediately. The three people working at the station were moved into an inner part of the building away from windows.

“We heard the Bronco’s engine,” said WTLR secretary Sharon Doster. “We knew something was going on. He was driving around on the lawn. Then we heard about a dozen shots. It’s something you never think you would go through. We did a lot of praying.”

“There were numerous gunshots that rang out,” VanOuse said. He was later told by police that Neiman fired some shots.

“I was praying quite honestly for the safety of those that didn’t know (what was going on in the area),” he said. “It was a very frightening situation.”

Multiple witnesses said police stood their ground even after Neiman targeted them with his Bronco. “He could have driven away,” Miller said. “But he kept coming back to that building.”

I thank God for the phone call that came from a concerned
businessman who took the ramblings of this mentally ill
man seriously. Otherwise, we would likely be headed to
Centre County for multiple funerals.

The other incident in which we saw God's Hand of Protection
yesterday was when Mikey, Warren , Jonathan and Pastor Mike
were unloading a 500 pound piece of equipment from a truck.

The equipment shifted, pinning Mikey by the head between it and
the garage door. I first saw him outside the kitchen window
holding his head and crying. The Mother's heart was so scared.

When I found out what had happened I only became more concerned.

While he has two swollen spots on his head, there appears to be
no internal damage. We watched him very closely all during
Bible Study last evening and he is up and getting ready for
work today.

Both things could have been tragic.

Neither were as bad as they could have been.

Thank You, Lord.

You were gracious to us, and those we love.

Hope you do not have to write a post such as
this any time soon!!!



Mrs. Rabe said...

Tim and I were just talking on Thursday evening, about how we never know when tragedy is about to strike, or an accident etc...

I am so thankful that our lives are in God's hands and that He is in control.

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,

Thanks for you very thoughtful remarks. They're comforting at such a traumatic time.

We will never, ever forget the legacy of your Dad and the whole Sutley family at WTLR and CPCI.

Please pray for us all at this time.

Mark VanOuse

Terri and Bob said...

Good heavens!

Prayer is a powerful thing. Also, the goodness of the heart cannot be measured or fathomed. Thank goodness for the goodness of the heart of the caller.

Everyone will be in our prayers here in Missouri.