Friday, March 12, 2010
In Honor Of Sgt. Howard J. Plouff
I try to keep my personal life out of the blog. I mean, you know about my hysteria and depression when it comes to querying, you know that my Small One turns into a Monster Baby at the drop of a hat, but you wouldn't know about this, and I wasn't going to tell you about this, but I didn't sleep last night, thinking you need to hear about this.
My cousin, Sgt. Howard Plouff was a cop in Winston-Salem North Carolina for almost 18years. He was a good man, a true friend, a loving husband, a fantastic father. He was one of those guys that everyone loved. He was always in a good mood, always ready to tell a joke, always ready to play a little hoop. He was funny and light hearted, mischievous and hard working. Howard was a true gentleman.
In February of 2007, Howard responded to a call, gunshots fired, riot ensuing at a nightclub on the outskirts of Winston. 400 people were in the middle of a melee when Howard and his partner pulled into the parking lot. People were everywhere, chairs and tables were flying, women were screaming, there was blood, lots of blood.
Someone pulled out a gun and began firing. Then another. Then another. Howard was hit in the face and went down in the parking lot before he even had a chance to look around. His partner called for the ambulance and it raced 100 miles an hour down the highway to the hospital. He died at 4:30 that morning after the doctors tried everything they could to save him.
His funeral was held in his family's church. I wasn't living here at the time and flew down with my brothers for it. There were over 3,000 police officers attending. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I have never been so touched by the people that showed up. Everybody knew Howard. Everybody loved Howard. His wife and daughters were devastated yet held up under the weight of the responsibility of burying their husband and father. I don't know how they did it, I could never have done what she did. (Joyce, his wife spoke to almost 10,000 people at the wake.
The police found the man who fired the bullet that killed Howard. I don't know how they did it, but the detectives matched the bullet to a gun, and matched the gun to a man. A young man, 22 years old, studying at one of the colleges. He's been in jail since March of 2007.
The trial started last week. Joyce and Howard's mother, my aunt, sat in the courtroom watched the jury picked, listened to the testimony from the police and the witnesses. They both left the courtroom when the coroner was put on the stand. I don't blame them. The young man who killed my cousin, whether by accident or design, didn't take the stand. He presented no witnesses. Yesterday, the jury returned a verdict of 2nd degree murder. Today the judge will give his sentence. We all know that boy will sit in jail for most of his life, if not the rest of it.
It doesn't matter. After three long years, this devastating event that shattered a family is finally coming to a close. The man who killed my cousin is finally going to see what his actions of that night brought him. Justice will be served. Unfortunately that isn't justice. Howard isn't here.