A few years back we had a really crazy, literally crazy neighbor. This is his story, the one we witnessed anyway. I realize that it isn’t Halloween anymore, but I will warn you this one time only, this is a scary story. It speaks to fear and it speaks to problems in our society.
Grab a drink, it’s a doozy.
At our house, we have a mother in law unit. It’s actually a part of our house, but is blocked off by sound proof walls and a weird bump out. It started off as a studio unit, but massive for what it was, with its own yard and certainly its own entry, separate from any portion that you would attribute to us.
It has an impressive stone fireplace that dominates the main room. Full bath, laundry, kitchenette. The first couple that lived in it were so cute. Very young, and fixing to get married. They were adorable, and if it wasn’t for the weed growing in the expansive closet and massive electricity bill, I would wish that they were still living with us. But I digress, this blog post isn’t about Will and Sara. It’s about Shawn P. Noble.
Shawn came directly post Will and Sara. He seemed harmless on paper.
He was a veteran of the Iraq wars, he was single, he had a giant Rottweiler puppy (that fact almost disqualified him), and he was a driver for Amazon Fresh who worked swing shift. That was a big selling point, as we would rarely see him.
He was also a crazy lunatic.
On the day he moved in, he was hanging around outside near the fence line between his yard and our driveway/garage. When I came home from work that Friday he greeted me and introduced himself. He seemed fairly harmless, a little too talky, but whatever, sometimes I don’t like talky, maybe it was like that, that day. I excused myself to go inside and thought no more of him.
Until 10 pm that night.
We had been out to the Oaktree, and had invited a group of friends back to the house for a late BBQ. It was July 1st. We were leaving the following day for our summertime trip to Loon Lake, north of Spokane, to meet with my Rooster’s Dad and brothers.
As I stood at the man door of our garage and greeted our guests that were arriving (my Rooster had to Poop), I saw at the end of the line of 5 or 6 people, our new neighbor man.
“Hi, welcome, yay, glad you came”, I said to them all. Until finally Shawn was in front of me. He was carrying a 12 pack of Michelob.
“Hey, what’s happening, is everything going good in your new place?” I asked him.
“Oh yeah, I love it.”
“So what’s happening?” I asked him.
“Oh, I see you’re having a party, I thought I would join in”, he told me with a smile, “I brought beer.”
I stammered a bit as I truly did not know what to say. Who does that? In that moment of silence he offered to leave. “If it isn’t ok, I’ll just go, it’s no big deal.”
“Well”, I said, “it’s just that I feel like you should be invited, you know?”
He turned on his heel and left our garage.
As I greeted a few more of our invited guests, I started to feel guilty. Why shouldn’t he be welcomed? The darker side of me, let’s call her Esmerelda, argued that if I allowed him to come over, he would always be trying to come over. The internal argument was ongoing until I was saved by my much louder, more opinionated other half.
My Rooster had reappeared at my side and as I explained to him what had happened, he took a stance that had not occurred to me.
“Well, what would you think if I went over there and invited him?”
Light bulb! That prospect would alleviate my guilt and reinforce my statement that he should be “invited”. Of course! I just love my Rooster.
The angelic positive side of me (Jade) moved on to participate in pleasant conversation, general joviality and the enjoyment of one of the first summer evenings of that year. I didn’t have much interaction with Shawn, because I felt bad about our initial exchange.
Until I noticed his propensity to try to be inside our home. Granted, others were frequenting the kitchen for utensils, or condiments, some even took whiskey shots. These were our close friends, they are all welcome to whatever we have.
More than one of these close friends reported to me asking, “who is the weird guy hanging around the kitchen?”. “Hey, why is your new neighbor just staying inside?” “How do you know that guy, he is weird.”
Yep, that was enough for me, he was weird. When gently nudged outside by my Rooster, he exclaimed, “Boy, I really love you guys’ house.”
Then the next time he was told more pointedly by one of our guests, “Hey buddy, the party is outside.”
I had grown more and more wary of him. My Rooster was staying ever closer to his side. We were not having a fun time at our BBQ.
But then came the moment of truth. I was across the yard, talking with Dale, when I saw Shawn stumble out of the house, onto the patio, and he didn’t stop there. He continued to stumble towards the end of said patio, where I kept a giant terra cotta pot of Snapdragons. They were in full bloom. He crashed right into that pot, and rolled to the ground as if he and my flowers were one entity. The pot and flowers were destroyed.
I did not give one iota of emotion as to whether or not he was injured.
I stopped my conversation mid laugh, as did everyone else. It was utterly silent in our backyard. I stood and shouted across the grass, “That’s IT! He’s got to go, right now!”
Looking back, it might have been an overreaction, but you just don’t mess with my plants, let alone destroy them.
I am still surprised that my Rooster did not argue about my bossiness, or the fact that I made such a big deal about that incident. He merely gathered a friend’s assistance, thanks Keith, and together they escorted Shawn back to his residence.
Later he told me there was a loaded 45 on the night table that he disarmed before leaving Shawn to his own devices.
That was the day, I decided he was no good. Doesn’t seem that bad right? That’s what my Rooster thought.
Until the next day, when Destiny and I were loading the camper for our trip to Loon Lake, and my Rooster was at work. She and I were going from the house, through the garage and up into the camper, over and over again.
Shawn stood, leaning against the fence staring at us, with crocodile tears rolling down his face, in utter silence. He made no move to speak to either of us. This went on for a while, until I decided that we would no longer be the object of the staring and loading proceeded to end in a stack in the garage. He conveniently retreated into his house before my Rooster returned.
Throughout his two year tenure as our neighbor, there were many more disturbing incidents.
My Rooster told him his dog was barking incessantly while he was at work and that he would have to find a way to keep him quiet or get rid of him. The other neighbors were complaining, and to be honest, no one wants to listen to a Rottweiler bark half the night.
Shawn’s solution? He told my Rooster that he got rid of the dog, but instead just shut him in the house, 24 hours a day. Miraculously he wasn’t barking, but it wasn’t long before the smell of dog crap permeated the house. Shawn was living in there with all that stink. Of course that wasn’t anything that we would abide by.
My Rooster again went and had a talk with him after three days of smelly candles and Shawn insisting that the dog was gone, I have no idea what he could have possibly said. I don’t have any words for approaching that situation. Shawn got the dog a shock collar, returned him to the outdoors and cleaned the apartment, ending that problem.
Once he made us a meatloaf wrapped in bacon. It came off as a weird peace offering. We didn’t eat it.
He used to buy Rooster Juice from my Rooster, and maybe that’s where Shawn really felt comfortable. Over time, Shawn would often tell him that he was happy to call my Rooster his friend, “even if his old lady hated him”.
That wasn’t entirely true. I was scared of him, well not scared, but certainly wary. He made me uncomfortable and I just had a feeling that at any time he could snap. I’m not particularly fond of feeling that way.
This feeling and these actions carried on until the very last day that I ever laid eyes on him. It was an August weekday and my Rooster and I were preparing to leave for our respective workplaces. He was already in the garage with the door open, moments from leaving. In walked Shawn, in his underwear and combat boots.
He told my Rooster that he wasn’t doing well, and that he had lost his job a week or two prior. He was begging for a jar of Rooster Juice. My Rooster sent him home, with a promise to drop by a jar prior to his heading off to work.
When he came back into the house, he asked me when I would be ready to leave for my office. After hearing that I had maybe ten more minutes, he told me to get the car started and when I was ready, I was to just leave, and to not talk to Shawn if he happened to be outside, or engage him in any way. He took a bottle of Rooster Juice next door and left for work.
This scared me a little bit, as I of course never tried to interact with Shawn, the warning did not go unheeded.
I left the house very shortly after my Rooster did, with a lump in my throat, crouched down below the fence line, sneaking my way into my car. Having had no sight of him, I forgot everything and drove along on my merry way to work.
Around 10:30 am, I received a phone call from Lisa. She and Darin were working on a project near our house and Rooster had asked him to check on things. As they rounded the corner they discovered that our home was surrounded by police cars and that the road was blocked off. She even spied a sniper up a telephone pole!
As it turns out, after we had left for work, Shawn had snapped. He had been marching up and down the street with a rifle on his shoulder, still fully geared up in his underwear and combat boots. Our neighbor across the street had tried to engage him in conversation and was rewarded with the rifle being pointed in her face. That’s when 911 was called.
There was a standoff, and Shawn retreated into his apartment. When he finally granted access to the police they recovered 13 weapons and noted that there was various ammunition scattered about on the floor.
He was taken by ambulance to St. Clare Hospital. We assumed that they would hold him for an evaluation, but they released him into the custody of his son a few hours later. I cannot presume to know why his son brought him back home and dropped him off, but he did.
On my way home from work that day, I stopped by the grocery store, and as I was parking, I noticed several fire trucks, an ambulance and five police cars flying up Pacific Avenue. What I couldn’t see was that all of those rescue vehicles had turned down our block.
Arriving home after, I did see them. All around the house, again.
Apparently, a lady friend of Shawn’s had stopped by the house to see if he was ok. He wasn’t. He was crouched down behind the washing machine in his apartment, eyes open and completely catatonic. She came running to our house for help. My Rooster went in with her and there wasn’t anything he could do. Thus the second 911 call was made to ask for help, the second one in one day.
The last time I laid eyes on Shawn was as the paramedics were wheeling him out of the house strapped to a stretcher. He was looking around wild eyed in silence. I’m not sure why, but I really did not want him to see me.
This time they took him to Tacoma General, where he was held for evaluation and treatment for over a week.
A decision was made that day that he would no longer be a good tenant for us. Since he had turned in his notice to vacate at the end of the month anyway, my Rooster gently broke it to his family members that had shown up that he would not be welcome to stay any longer. Over the next several days, they moved out his belongings.
Every once in a while, I go to his Facebook page and stalk him. While we are not friends, there is enough there for me to make sure he is not near us.
I don’t know why I stalked his page this passed Monday, because it has been a while, but when I did, I saw numerous posts that said “Rest In Peace”.
Being the stalker that I am, I had to dig in further. I searched Google for an obituary, and what I found chilled my blood.
There was a story from the Tacoma News Tribune. Shawn had lost his mind when his roommate told him he didn’t have rent money (on November 1st), he proceeded to shoot his roommate 13 times. I need not explain that the roommate did not survive.
Shawn then called a friend to ask for help in disposing of the body, when the friend refused, Shawn told them that his only choice now was to kill himself and hung up the phone.
That friend called the police, but the police were too late. Shawn shot himself point blank in the head, ending the torment that obviously plagued him.
All of this information was gleaned from the TNT article and facebook stalking.
Mental health care deficiencies are very real in our society. I’m not saying that anyone could have saved Shawn Noble or that the situation could have been avoided. I am certain that he had PTSD, and probably more wrong in his head. I just wanted to share the story.
I am also saying that I am so glad that he was not our neighbor anymore.
This is a photo of Shawn and his son.
This story just wanted to be told.
My review of the Jeep Renegade and Tacoma Dodge will have to wait until next time.