After 28 years investigating more than 1000 motor-vehicle accidents, various officer-involved shootings, domestic disputes, and internal personnel cases, you grow accustomed to the fact that, whether there are two or twenty witnesses, no one ever sees the same version of an incident. Such a refreshing feeling, when hired at Colonial, to know there would be no more having to chase down different versions of a simple incident. Why at church everyone would see the truth and would report it as such. Hey, it’s church; no one would dare stretch the truth, right?! Until . . . along came the simple matter of the Colonial Deer Incident, otherwise referred to as: The Great Deer Invasion, Attack of the John and Jane Doe Family, or The Bucks Stop Here.
It started around 4:00, Monday afternoon, when two deer emerged from the wooded area behind Colonial and moved toward the picnic tables underneath the portico. They appeared to be interested in some leftovers they spotted left by a noon lunch group. Startled by parents picking up their kids dismissing from Basketball Camp, one deer crashed through a plate glass window into the entry area of the church hallway—in a flash, the deer escaped, crashing through another window into the courtyard. Only seconds after the first, a second deer entered through the broken window and darted through the Worship Center—with kids, parents, and baby carriages moving like the Running of the Bulls in Barcelona, Spain.
The deer made it all the way to the Paul Jackson Library and entered. Security cameras caught the animal passing Pastor Scott Wylie, and Scotty and Larry from Facilities. Now, here is where different versions of the incident begin to emerge.
One female member said that Scott, Scotty and Larry, without due regard for their own safety, rushed into the library, picked up chairs and herded the wild, attacking animal back into the hallway and out of the closest exit—heroism at its finest, displayed by our own staff!
However, another female member said it looked to her as if the three men were actually flipping a coin in the air. She also said she thought she heard Pastor Wylie make the statement: “It’s heads, you two get in there!”
Of course an incident of this type can become distorted, even when communicated the short distance from the Worship Center to the receptionists’ desk. When I got word of the intrusion, it had grown from two deer in the building, to there could be as many as a half dozen. I immediately put emergency plans into action and secured my weapon of defense— a black, six-cell-battery-powered flashlight. (Anyone who has followed my patrol career knows I can’t hit a barn from five feet with a pistol!)
About that time, it was rumored that the Senior Pastor’s office had contacted Ed Strickland, of the Outdoors Ministries group, to launch a counter attack!
There was one reported casualty: Chad Patterson, of the Colonial Facilities Department, sustained a small cut to one hand from picking up broken glass . . .other versions relayed indicated he was on the verge of losing a limb after hand-to-hoof combat with one of the wild beasts!
I am thankful that, with the help of Justin Barrett, Director of Colonial Facilities, and keen investigation techniques, I can confirm that there were just two scared deer and a couple of broken windows. Two pieces of plywood, a few screws, a vacuum cleaner, and one Band-Aid for a minor cut, have resolved the Colonial Deer Incident.