Dramatic story unfolds on local news source Patch

Local news reporting doesn’t get much more dramatic than on Patch’s coverage of the SWAT team in El Granada yesterday.

The story started off as it did on other news sites but then took a remarkable turn.

The situation began when Sammy Turner, for reasons unknown, shoots his friend Cody Hassler in the stomach. The shooting takes place in Vallejo and Sammy flees to a house in El Granada. A SWAT team surrounds the house and a long vigil (and press coverage) begins with officers repeatedly asking, via bullhorn, for Sammy to come to the door or window to talk. There is no response from anyone in the hose and so the wait goes on and on.

Meanwhile on Patch, someone going by the name of “tiffany johnson” and claiming to be Cody’s mother is posting in the comment section of the Patch article, beseeching Sammy to surrender and telling him that Cody is alive.

At 7:30 pm the first post reads:

This is tiffany johnson cody hasslers mom!!!!!! SAMMY!!! CODY LOVES YOU BRO”S TO THE END…..HE FORGIVES YOU WE ALL DO!!!!! HE IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT!!!! SAMMY COME OUT WE WILL FIX THIS TOGETHER!!!!!!!!

Followed five minutes later with:

PLEASE YELL TO SAMMY. WE LOVE HIM AND FORGIVE HIM….CODY LOVES HIM AND WANTS TO TALK TO HIM!!!!!

And finally:

PLEASE SAVE SAMMY!!!!!!!!!

A neighbor and a friend post as well, offering compassion and hopeful thoughts.

The Cody himself makes an appearance. In a video posted to Patch Cody, speaking with some effort from his hospital bed tells Cody to come out of the house and that he forgives him for the shooting. The video, credited to Cody’s mother is captioned with the plea “SAMMY!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!! WE CAN ALL GET THRU THIS TOGETHER!!!! I PROMISE!!!”

This is amazing, intimate coverage of an unfolding local news event and, indeed, passively participating and facilitating the event.

I’ve never seen anything like it before.

The SWAT team did enter the building, long after dark, but found no one inside. Police returned to the house the next day and arrested Sammy, who apparently surrendered without a struggle.

The Patch article and updates were written by Stacie Chan and Patch editor Christa Bigue.

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