The heat was kicking in as late afternoon settled over the beach. Tempers were getting frayed as sunburned, dehydrated, families packed up their stuff and got ready for the long, sandy ride back to Houston.
Lifeguards had been busy all day with a persistent current pulling people towards the rocks and small choppy surf keeping everyone on edge. The radio crackled with calls of lifeguards moving swimmers broken up with occasional medical or enforcement calls.
Suddenly an excited voice broke the pattern. “Tower 47 to headquarters, there’s a naked woman fighting someone on my beach”. The area supervisor arrived within a few moments and called that they were stepping out on a disturbance and requested the Galveston Police Department and another lifeguard supervisor for backup. Then there was some confusion and a Galveston policeman came up on our radio channel requesting us to send another unit that way to back up our guards since they had gone in the water.
Turns out the “naked” woman actually had a top on. Just not the bottom. When she and her wife stopped fighting and the lifeguards and police arrived she put on her bottom. Then she inexplicably took off all of her clothes, left her wife and two small kids, and ran into the area next to the groin where the rip current is. Supervisor Gabe Macicek and Senior Guard Emma went in after her and were trying to keep her away from the rocks so she wouldn’t get caught in the rip or step into the really deep area.
That’s when it started to get weird.
The woman was 6ft tall, big and strong, and was pretty worked up. She was yelling at Gabe as he kept trying to get her to return to shore and leave the dangerous area. They were able to gradually talk her into waist deep water. She asked him if they were cops. He told her no. Then she said, “You wanna be a hero?!!” and she started hitting both he and Emma. They tried to block her blows and stay away but she ended up connecting on Gabe 3 times and twice on Emma repeating her mantra of “You wanna be a hero?!!!) over and over.
The second lifeguard truck arrived while this was going on and Supervisor David Nash came up from behind the woman and bear hugged her so she couldn’t hit them. All three moved her a little closer to shore as several GPD officers went way above the call of duty and waded out to their knees and cuffed the woman (thanks yet again GPD!).
The teamwork the GPD and my staff showed was impressive. The guards who showed so much restraint and put themselves in harm’s way to protect someone who was (at least at that moment) combative, dangerous and completely out of her head are a real credit to both our organization and to the profession of lifesaving.
15 minutes later our “Heroes” stepped out on another altercation between two more people 7 blocks away. All on a Tuesday!