After reading former Game Warden John Ford’s column last week, it hit home how true his words are: “You never know what is going to happen from one moment to the next.”

I’ve said them before over the years and so has John. It’s mind-boggling in this profession how we can go from being in a boring routine to sheer terror in seconds.

We did things before making it home that we never thought possible. Scary incidents happen, and more often than most ever realize, even here in the good old safe state of Maine.

This particular story is just that — scary. I was working in the China area, tying up loose ends on several cases. It was a Sunday evening, usually a night when most people were winding down from an active weekend and getting ready for work the following day.

I caught people at home, did some interviews and gathered information I needed to proceed further with cases. It was kind of a ho-hum, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of thing.

Then a call of a domestic situation came in to Maine State Police headquarters. The call was for a trooper in another troop, but he was quite a distance away. I was a lot closer and could be there in fewer than 10 minutes, so I headed to the residence until the responding trooper could arrive. It was a good thing I did. Before I got there, the situation turned very violent and a child witnessed the horror.

I pulled into the trailer park and a young boy was standing at the end of his driveway in tears. He ran to my cruiser and sobbed, “My daddy’s been stabbed! He’s lying on the kitchen floor!”

It is hard to ever forget the look on such a young, innocent child’s face. It was one of sheer terror. He had no idea what was going to happen. All I could do was my very best at making it better for him and keeping him safe. I told him to point me to the right location so I could help his dad. He also told me his mom was inside and she was the one who stabbed him.

I told the little boy, “Stand right by my cruiser and don’t move. There will be another trooper arriving here shortly and you tell him right where I am. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes,” he said.

I entered the trailer and the man was lying on his back on the kitchen floor. He had a knife sticking out of his chest. He was ashen white and tried to talk with me. While kneeling beside him and comforting him, I was also very concerned about his attacker.

You never know how people will react when police get involved. I had been at a domestic situation before when a man had beaten a woman and when I went to arrest the man, the woman attacked me and begged me not to take her man to jail. Then I had to fight off the female as well. We had to be prepared for about anything.

Kneeling beside the victim, I called for medical assistance by portable radio to Maine State Police HQ. While talking on the radio, I finally located the female. She was in the living room, sitting in an overstuffed chair staring into space. She didn’t seem to be a threat at that moment and once I had help coming for the man and he was comfortable, I made my way to the living room to confront the female.

When I stood in front of her she barely was aware that I was there. There were empty prescription bottles beside her and she had swallowed all of the pills that the bottles had contained. She was barely coherent and also needed immediate medical assistance. I again radioed SP Augusta for another ambulance to get them both to the hospital.

The other trooper arrived on scene, followed closely by ambulances. Both people were triaged and loaded into the ambulances. We didn’t know until much later how they made out.

Right then, the most important thing was to take care of the little boy. As the other trooper talked with the boy, he learned that he knew many of his friends, family and relatives. The little boy desperately wanted to stay with one of his relatives, so he was whisked away to that location. We assured him he had done nothing wrong and that hopefully everything would be OK.

Both the man and woman survived the ordeal. Charges were brought against her and she was dealt with in the court system. This incident occurred shortly before my retirement, and I never learned what became of the family. I often think of the little boy and how sad it was for him to go through such an ordeal. It’s hard to fathom how in the world things could get so bad to resort to that type of violence.

“You never know what is going to happen from one moment to the next!”

Just another day in the life.

Mark Nickerson is a retired Maine State Police Trooper. The 28-year veteran land award-winning columnist lives in Unity and may be reached at