So I am working graveyard in patrol. I am cruising the "Felony Freeway" ( a street that allows crooks to get home and stay off major boulevards or the highway. Usually a street that was a Main Street at some point but got left by the wayside over the years) that ran into our city from Pomona in LA County. I notice off a side street a guy wobbling down the middle of the street headed to a disgusting trailer park. I back up and head down the very dark street. I contact a fairly large Mexican guy who is fairly intoxicated. He didn't speak English so I went through the routine in Spanish. He claimed no ID, no weapons, ....and "two beers" (no matter how drunk, the answer is always "just two beers).
I start doing a pat down on the guy and he has a pistol in his right front pocket. Well, now the fight is on. We are rolling around in the street and it is a brutal brawl. He is not resisting, he is giving it his all. Eventually, he gets beaten into submission, choked out and I cuff him. Just then my back up arrives. It is my carpool partner who is the definition of a "pig cop". He is like a character out of a bad cop movie. He has a trainee with him. He walks up and asks what's up. I tell him the guy has a pistol in his pocket. He gives the guy to his trainee to search. I am bent over catching my breath and my uniform is all torn up. My carpool partner has the gun while his rookie finishes searching the guy. So my buddy walks over with a .25 auto to show me. He has the gun like you would normally hold it, and he just points it right between my eyes and pulls the trigger. Sheer terror......until a flame comes out of the muzzle. It is a fricking lighter. It literally looks exactly like a real gun, but it is a lighter.
I was pissed at my partner, but what was sort of funny was the look on the crooks face. He was stunned. We get a Spanish translator and it turns out that the guy was drinking at a bar (same one where I had previously shot a guy in) and had bought the "gun" from a guy at the bar. He didn't know it was a lighter and thought it was a real gun. He is mad because he got ripped off and got his ass beat. The thing had to have come from Mexico, because I have never seen anything like it. So, it turns out he his fighting for his life because he knows if he gets caught with a gun he will likely get deported, which is why he was fighting so hard. Pretty soon the crook, my buddy and I are all laughing our asses off like a bunch of old buddies because it is really kind of funny. I end up arresting the guy for public intox and resisting, and everybody lived another day. Sort of shows how you can go from quiet calm in the middle of the night to a knock down drag out fight with a guy you know has a gun, to feeling good about winning, to sheer terror from your crazed buddy, to laughing with the crook about how funny the whole thing turned out.