It was just after 5 p.m. Friday when Shelby Gregory drove up to a house in the 300 block of Evergreen Avenue to pick up her sister.
She was parked along the street as her sister, Shirlynne Ford, came through the front door onto the porch.
Also in Gregory’s car were her 21-year-old daughter, 6-year-old grandson and 1-year-old granddaughter.
Shirley Green, Ford’s mother, was inside the house, and a male relative was on the porch with Ford.
Several bags of leaves were in a neat row by the curb, and in the yard beside the house were four people who’d just finished raking those leaves and bagging them.
Among them was John May, who was visiting. His dog, a chihuahua named Pebbles, was roaming loose nearby.
Across the street, a neighbor had gone inside his house a short time earlier after working on his car.
He was in his kitchen when the early evening peace was blown apart.
“I heard, ‘pow, pow, pow,’ and those folks were out cleaning up leaves,” he said, declining to be identified for this story.
The relative with Ford, who also did not want to be identified, threw her to the porch floor and dove on top of her as Green screamed from inside for everyone to get down.
May sensed one bullet whiz by the group in the yard. He scrambled to catch his dog in the rush to get out of harm’s way.
In the street, a shooter in a burgundy car had just opened fire on a man in a green car, to the best recollection of the shocked bystanders who had suddenly found themselves dodging bullets. The burgundy car sped east, and the green car took off west as the victim, who called police to tell them he was shot in the mouth, drove himself to St. Elizabeth Health Center.
Police who had arrived at the scene learned from the hospital that his injury wasn’t life-threatening.
“It had nothing to do with anyone on the street,” said the neighbor who was in his kitchen when the shooting started.
In the aftermath, Green inspected one of her car’s tires that had been flattened by a bullet.
Pebbles was bundled securely inside May’s jacket as he remembered the close call he and his friends had just had.
Gregory was angry her grandchildren had been put in such danger. When police finally said the witnesses could go, she was more than ready to leave.
Ford was grateful for a selfless act of protection on the porch.
No further information was available from police Friday night.
Staff writer John Goodwin contributed to this story.