The tragedy in which Jorge Beeton, holed up at the 400 Paula Ave.
complex, died of apparent self-inflicted gunshots at the end,
capitulated quickly in our Rancho area, and residential streets
became clogged with police and press vehicles. Terrified tenants of
the 78-unit complex, as well as nearby homeowners, were hustled away
from the crime scene and fled to the safety of neighbors' lawns and
homes and the adjacent park, waiting nearly 24 hours to return to
their apartments and pets. Some of us provided water, restrooms and a
cool place to relax during the ordeal.
A kindly police duo, one of whom was a horsewoman, managed to slip
onto the property to feed and water the many horses stabled behind
the complex, after horse-owning tenants pleaded as the day wore on.
Despite the crowds, next day the park was neat as a pin, thanks to
whichever unit did the clean-up. It was as though the entire incident
had been a bad dream. One's heart went out to the tenants who had to
deal with memories linked to the sight of the bullet-damaged
exterior, boarded windows, police tape, and terrible gunshot noise.
One, who is a close friend, spent the night in my home, rising before
dawn to be the first allowed back in, so she could walk and feed her
beloved dog before going to work.
These are folks who already live up-close and personal with the
Golden State (5) and Ventura (134) freeway interchange and the
constant racket and pollution generated by vehicles and helicopters,
as well as the tall, illuminated ABC-7 sign that went up last year.
More than ever, they, along with the rest of the neighborhood,
deserve a sound wall that would extend from the old one that stops
short of the complex property. It would seem as deserved as the one
that benefits DreamWorks on the other side of the freeway, if not
more, and could serve to prevent bullets from hitting passing
vehicles, heaven forbid this should ever occur again in the next
century. Best, it would mitigate the roar, which is intensified and
reverberated by cement surfaces on the roadways, bridges and river
banks and off the nearby hills. Who knows what part this incessant
noise played in the pitiful gunman's mental state?
Again, the GPD and Chief Randy Adams are sincerely thanked for
their invaluable service, along with the good people with the Burbank
Police Department and the local Red Cross.