From the wonderful people who brought you Rob’s Death Certificate, here comes his Police Report.
I keep hoping that I’ll find something new in these official documents that will somehow explain the unexplainable, but this report is just a lot of what I already knew and a bunch of miscellaneous details that dredge up disturbing questions.
The first page, “Administrative Information,” is just the facts, ma’am—name, race, sex, address, that kind of thing. The next three pages are “Narrative,” which begins with dispatch receiving a call about a shot fired and then another one reporting a suicide attempt: “CP SAYS FRIEND SHOT HIMSELF.” CP stands for “calling party.”
That’s followed by the names of the responding officers and a detailed description of the location, complete with compass-like directions (“The kitchen was north of the living room, the bedroom was south of the living room”). Under the heading “Upon Arrival,” the report says the CP and another witness were on the 5th floor pointing the police to the 6th floor, where Rob lived. The police knocked on his door, announced themselves and then entered the apartment. The decedent—that’s Rob—was lying on the floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
The Long Beach Fire Department and Rescue arrived on the scene next, and a paramedic pronounced Rob dead at 2310 hours (that’s ten after eleven to us civilians). One of the witnesses stated that the body wasn’t moved after the gunshot, and that the decedent had a history of alcohol abuse. Rob is identified as being in his early to mid-20s, 120 to 140 pounds, and there’s a list of his tattoos, misidentifying one of them on his left forearm as “Star Money Records.” It goes on to describe the placement of his body, again with GPS precision: “His legs were facing south. His elbows were pointing east and west.” The report then notes what Rob was wearing: gray long-sleeve sweatshirt, black belt, blue jeans, black socks and brown shoes. White Apple earbuds were protruding from underneath the sweatshirt.
A black revolver was found on the floor next to his left foot. There was a pool of blood near his head and spatter by his feet.
A bullet fragment was located on the floor in the living room and black eyeglasses were found in the northeast corner of the kitchen. The report adds: “It should be noted, there were several empty 25-ounce cans of Hurricane malt liquor scattered throughout the apartment.”
An investigator from the Coroner’s Office arrived on the scene. She took photos, recovered a .38 Special cartridge, gathered up Rob’s iPhone and keys to the apartment, and then took possession of the body.
There’s a bunch of other bullshit on page 4 about follow-up reports, a canvassing of the surrounding apartments (known as “knock and talks”), and how another officer took custody of Rob’s cat and transported it to Long Beach Animal Shelter.
And that’s pretty much all she wrote. There’s really no new information here. Thanks for nothing, Long Beach Police Department!
After reading over this piece-of-shit report three or four times, I was still at a loss—good phrase there—desperate to connect the dots.
Here’s what I wanted to know: Whose gun was it? What was it doing in the kitchen? Who were these people who’d been in Rob’s apartment? How did they know Rob? What was his state of mind that night? Did he say anything about wanting to kill himself? Was this a premeditated or an impulsive act? Why would Rob invite these people to his apartment knowing that he was going to kill himself? How do we know it was definitely suicide?
These questions continued to swirl around in my head and led to another miserable night’s sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I decided to call Detective Hubbard—he was assigned to this case and I’d spoken with him briefly the day Rob died—to ask him about all of the above.
This is what Detective Hubbard told me: The gun belonged to the male witness, who is the boyfriend of the female witness. According to their statements (which were not shared with me), the female witness had met Rob at AA about a month before he died. The three of them were hanging out all afternoon and there was no mention of Rob being suicidal. The woman said she knew Rob was in financial trouble and hadn’t paid his rent in months. They went back to Rob’s place early in the evening and started drinking and playing video games.
“Who brings a gun if they’re just hanging out, and why does this guy even have a gun?” I asked.
“I don’t know. What he said about it in the report is unclear,” said the detective.
“It doesn’t make any sense.”
“I hear what you’re saying,” he said.
Then Detective Hubbard, reading from one of the witness reports, told me that the boyfriend was showing his girlfriend and Rob how to handle the gun and, a few minutes later, left the unloaded pistol on the couch and went to the bathroom. Rob then picked up the gun, according to the woman, loaded a bullet in the chamber, put it in his mouth and end of story.
“This whole thing doesn’t make any sense to me,” I repeated. “Where did Rob get a bullet from? I don’t understand.”
“I wasn’t there, but based on the accounts from the responding officers and the coroner on the scene, and the forensic evidence and the witness statements, your son’s death was ruled a suicide and it’s a closed case. There won’t be any further investigation,” said Detective Hubbard. “You’re certainly welcome to pursue this further if you want to.”
I thanked him for his time and for being patient and considerate.
“I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said. “Call me if you have any more questions.”
None of what he told me adds up and it took a moment before I realized why. It’s not like the two witnesses were ever going to implicate themselves in Rob’s death—and reveal whatever it was that really happened—so we’ll never know the truth. I can torture myself with endless theories and scenarios of who did what to whom and apply pretzel logic to each and every one of them, but it wouldn’t make a difference. Rob’s dead and there’s nothing that can bring him back.
There’s no sense of closure, no reasonable explanation, no relief. Rob not being here will never make sense, even though I know he was depressed and desperate, and that he finally had had enough. I know all of these things and it doesn’t make a fucking bit of difference because it will never make sense and accepting that it will never make sense will also never make any sense to me. And round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.