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HINGHAM — As police cars rolled into his pristine suburban neighborhood last Saturday night, past the sprawling Colonials and manicured lawns, and as dozens of officers from across the region surrounded his home, Russell Reeves begged them again and again to back off.
In a bedroom upstairs his son Austin, 26, was distraught over a breakup. He had told his family he needed time alone. With him was his dog and his 9 mm handgun. If you pressure him, if he feels cornered, Reeves said he told the police, this will end with Austin killing himself.
Police - Notes - Notebooks - Reeves - Officers
The police listened and nodded and took notes in their notebooks, according to Reeves. And yet, more officers kept coming. Some wore camouflage and carried rifles. They set up bright lights to shine onto the house and drove a military-style vehicle into the backyard. Eventually, they broke seven upstairs windows so a mounted camera could look inside for Austin.
“Please,” the frightened father says he asked them, “why can’t you just let him go to sleep?”
Standoff - Hours - Sunday - Morning - Rows
The standoff in the quiet cul-de-sac went on for hours. By early Sunday morning, it was over, the rows of police vehicles departing all at once like a flock of birds startled into flight.
Left behind, with the muddy tire ruts and broken glass, were countless questions — some of them unanswered, and some unanswerable. Reeling as the sun rose higher in the summer sky, Austin’s parents tried to understand how a simple police check on their son’s well-being had become an all-night siege.
Question - Pleas - Police - Response
One question, they knew, would haunt them forever: If their pleas had been heard, if police had tempered their response, would Austin still be alive?
Austin Reeves gave no sign earlier that evening of any troubles weighing on him.
Party - Cars
He worked at a party, as he often did, parking cars to make...
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