Police sirens wailed somewhere off in a safe distance from the usually quiet North Memphis street. But the sound swelled slowly, until it was down the street and then right outside, piercing the calm and alerting neighbors that trouble had come to their front doors.
Three doors down, a leaf blower whines in the cool of a clear January afternoon.
Its operator wears a orange bandana over his mouth and nose to keep out the dust and leaves that billow around his stocky frame and the trim, neat single-story cottage the man apparently calls home. White bags stuffed with leaves are stacked in a row near the edge of the lawn, now trim and neat enough to match the house.