These are just some of the words to describe the events of Monday, June 11; a night that was supposed to bring about justice, but instead brought about nothing. Reports began surfacing on Twitter on Monday at 6 p.m. that Desmonte Leonard, the man accused of fatally shooting three people at a party at University Heights on the night of June 9, had been spotted in a neighborhood in Montgomery.
By the time The Plainsman staff arrived in Montgomery at 8 p.m., the scene was a madhouse. The streets in the neighborhood were filled with hundreds of curious residents. Numerous media outlets lined lawns and sidewalks hoping to see law enforcement take down a possibly ruthless killer.
Law enforcement was also there in a big way. Highly trained United States Marshals, FBI agents, tactical units and local law enforcement were all ready to take down an alleged murderer.
Two independent sources told officials just a few hours earlier that Leonard was inside the house. Two different instruments showed that someone was inside the house and coughing was heard in the attic. Leonard was going to be taken down.
Excitement and anticipation were high in all of us. Breaking news, a capture and a sense of relief was going to happen before our eyes, possibly within minutes.
Except it didn’t.
Every hour Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Montgomery Director of Public Safety Chris Murphy held press conferences and continued to assure the public that Leonard would be captured.
“Time is on our side,” Strange said repeatedly. "This is a pretty driven person. He's got nothing to lose,"
Murphy said. "You cannot rush it."
But it felt like it needed to be rushed.
Hour after hour, we waited for Leonard to be captured, only to be told that law enforcement officials were continuing to work on it, and they believed he would be captured.
Then, a massive rainstorm hit that sent everyone running for the hills, and the atmosphere amongst the spectators began to swirl and rage in rhythm with Mother Nature.
Why hadn’t Leonard been captured? What was taking so long? What was going on?
By 11 p.m., the excitement everyone felt earlier that night metamorphosed into frustration. It became evident that Leonard would not be found at that time.
When the clock struck midnight, Strange and Murphy gave a final press conference advising everyone to go home.
I was absolutely furious and admittedly, selfish. I thought to myself, how could the police waste my time like this? In my head, a column began. I was going to rip into every law enforcement agency involved in the case and bash them for wasting my precious time. In my head, they had failed.
But, as we rode back to the Plains, I began realizing how unfair that would be. Law enforcement did what they had to do in that situation. They had all indications that was there, and searched for hours just to make sure they had not missed something.
They put their lives at risk, and I was complaining about losing a few hours of sleep.
Our culture has become that of instant gratification and patience has become a thing of the past. Everything about our lives is instant, from coffee to news. An investigation, however, is not something to be rushed. It takes time, and there can be setbacks along the way. Instead of berating law enforcement for a mistake, people should have applauded them for their teamwork and strong will to catch an alleged killer, even with Monday’s disappointment.
Finally, Leonard turned himself in. The mood changed to a lighter ambience, consisting of admiration for the hard work different organizations put in to catch Leonard.
But people should also applaud the work put in on Monday. Even though it was unsuccessful, Monday proved to everyone that every law enforcement agency would not rest until Leonard was captured.