But after shaking hands with Casey and the other suits, Michael Lockhart slipped back into the soap opera about the missing guns.To this point, he hadn’t been much more than a glorified bench player in Brooks’ gang.He favored slim-cut suits and skinny ties that would’ve been more at home on , a look that most of his peers didn’t bother attempting to replicate.
Michael hung around until midnight, then left with another friend. A neighbor claimed he saw three men near Foster’s house when the break-in went down: Hassan Williams, Kashif Love, and Lawrence Downs.
The danger and excitement of the drug gang’s bubble in West Philly faded as Michael headed home to a quiet stretch of Nicholas Street in North Philly, not far from the Martin Luther King Recreation Center. Foster’s panic deepened when he fielded a phone call from one of Brooks’ top lieutenants, who said he wanted to stop by to retrieve his boss’s firearms.
Lawrence Downs hadn’t become another entry in the city’s murder tally. But then Foster announced he had a secret to share, and that grabbed Michael’s attention. Jerry “Boog” Brooks, the head of a small drug gang on 55th Street, had asked Foster to hide three of his guns.
A minor, accidental neighborhood shooting had attracted the cops’ attention, and Brooks, pragmatic as a banker, worried that his stash houses might get raided.
When Murray reached an official at the hospital, he was told that Downs was lost in a coma. Philly’s trauma centers work miracles every day, but it didn’t seem like Downs would be one of them.
Murray figured the case would soon end up in the hands of a Homicide detective.
Cops, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and relatives of victims and defendants jostled for space near a handful of lobby elevators, bracing for the slow, uncomfortable ride that awaited them all.
Stragglers smoked cigarettes outside in the 91-degree heat. He’d killed more hours than he cared to count pacing its narrow hallways, waiting to testify in one case or another.
It was like therapy, in a sense, an exercise to convince him to stay on the straight and narrow. Cease Fire’s black and orange bus, plastered with its blunt slogan — “Stop. His peer-mediation efforts had helped to prevent at least one neighborhood beef from turning violent, his Cease Fire pals believed.
“I was very impressed with him,” Marla Davis Bellamy, the nonprofit’s director, would later say.
Long before anyone else in the Police Department, he used his personal Twitter account to try to show people that he wasn’t much different from any other thirtysomething living in the city; he just happened to wear a badge to work everyday.