The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 4

Continued from Chapter 3.

Homicide Team One, led by Sergeant Thomas Bach, was already at the G Street scene, having come together directly from Central.  They had been called out the previous evening to investigate a murder/suicide attempt in the City Heights district.  A quarrel between a well-known local drag queen “showgirl” and her lover ended as most murder-suicides do: one dead, the other hospitalized.

The first officers on the scene had found Barry Boveau in his renowned Marilyn Monroe get-up lying unconscious next to his late lover, Kevin Cohen.  Cohen had left this life courtesy of a single .32 caliber round to the forehead provided by Barry.  Barry, apparently wrought with remorse, wrote a confession, then called 911 after taking an overdose of drugs in true Marilyn fashion.

The Children’s Tylenol, however, lacked the potency to end Barry’s life.  He was revived at the scene.  Blubbering, he confessed as the paramedics took him off to County Medical Center’s emergency room.  After pumping his stomach, he was transferred to County Mental Health where he impressed the doctors sufficiently enough with his rendition of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to be held for observation.

Team One had been on-call and responded to the Cohen/Boveau née Monroe case.  They had been at Central when Officer Maxine Charleston found Castillo.  She put out the initial call for assistance.  Although Team One was first on the scene, Team Four was up in batting order and would be the primary investigative team.

Unlike the portrayals on television and film, there is not tremendous infighting and backstabbing between the police investigative teams and divisions.  This is particularly true when an officer has been killed. The average time on the Department of a homicide investigator is fifteen years, the “John and Jane Wayne” syndrome long ago having spent its course.  The team designations are simply for administrative convenience and crossover work between the investigators is common.  The one goal of all members is to resolve the case.

Tom Bach had met with Scott Raines when he arrived, and they had decided Bach’s team would oversee the forensic side of the investigation.  Raines’ team would supervise and handle the ongoing investigation.  As with Raines team, Bach supervised four investigators, who were either busy with the lab crew or interviewing witnesses.

“Carl, why don’t you go down and hook-up with Toru. Bach’s got him interviewing the witnesses,” said Raines, in an effort to keep Carl away from Pete’s body as long as possible. Detective Morgan Toru was busy “rounding up the usual suspects” at the corner of Eighth Avenue and G Street.

Colin smiled as he watched Morgan, hands in his pockets leaning back against a patrol car listening intently to a transvestite, a wino and two aluminum miners, all vying for their fifteen minutes of fame, trying to tell Morgan what they thought they saw.  All the while some poor rookie attempted feverishly to write everything down.

“You got that?” Morgan said to the officer, who was one the verge of melt down.

“Uh” was about all the kid was able to articulate.  Morgan shook his head in feigned disgust, and looked up the street.  Spotting Colin, he saluted and bowed.

Carl, notebook in hand, ambled off toward the corner.  Raines turned toward Trudeau.

“E, why don’t you give the old folks a break.  Relieve Papa Nunez and Mother Annie.  They’re inside with Smith, Joplin and the Flash,” he said pointing toward the open door beyond Castillo’s lifeless form.  The blaze of a camera strobe confirmed Johnnie “the Flash” Winslow inside photographing the interior of the building.

“Right Boss,” chirped Shelley as she trotted across the street toward the shop.

“Colin…Joe, this is Officer Maxine Charleston,” said Raines. “She was first on the scene.  She found Pete and called it in.  Get her statement and then go help out E.  The folks from Team One have been up all night and need to go home.  I’m going to hook up with Bach and see what they have so far.”

“Sure, Scott,” said Colin.

Raines raised his eyebrows waiting for an acknowledgement from Joe.  Receiving none he asked again, “Hey, Amadiana, are you with us here or what?”

“Oh sorry, Sarge, just thinkin’…” replied Joe, shaking off another round of nausea as he looked at Castillo across the street.

“Really?  Well get it in gear.  You look and smell like shit.  You want to go home?  I can have Joplin or Toru to take over for you, how about that? Jesus!” said Raines showing his rarely seen angry side.

“No…no, I’m all right, just the flu or somethin’.  Really, I’m A-OK,” said Joe now on the defensive and truly wishing he had kept to his plan of “just the one” the evening before.

“Look, this is an important one, Joe.  I need full effort here,” said Raines, his eyebrows raised again, waiting for Joe’s reply.

“You got it…OK,” was all Joe could muster.

Colin, who had been standing by, more than a little embarrassed, now said, “We know what to do, Scott.  I’m sure Joe is just shook up like the rest of us.”

That’s right, you little suck-up, like I need your help, thought Joe, at least knowing better to keep silent than to further aggravate Raines.

“Whatever it takes. Just get going,” said Raines, shaking his head before walking off in the direction of Sgt. Bach.

Colin and Joe said nothing, but looked at each other for a moment.  Colin saw what he could have become and wondered how much longer Joe could last like this.  Joe finally smiled sheepishly and facially gestured, “What can I say?”

Colin turned toward Maxine Charleston, who, waiting patiently, witnessed the entire exchange.

“I’m Detective Fahey and this is Detective Amadiana, Officer Charleston,” said Colin, extending his hand to shake hers.  Joe fumbled for his notebook and another Camel, continuing to look almost disinterested.

“Mind if I smoke?” asked Joe, observing proper protocol.  Not that he really cared how she answered.

“No.” Maxine replied, glaring at Joe, her eyes narrowing and voice slow and deliberate.  Colin had seen that kind of look before and knew to intervene quickly.  Joe had the innate ability to piss off a nun with just a few words.

“Look…everybody is upset here,” said Colin drawing her attention.  “Pete was a friend of mine.  Sergeant Raines said you were first on the scene.  Can you give us a rundown?”

“He was my friend too,” said Maxine, flashing a look of disgust at Joe.  “You know he has a daughter?”

“No, I di―” exhaling smoke, Joe was cut off.

“Yes.  I met her at the Christmas party last year.  He was very proud of Theresa,” said Colin.

“He certainly was,” said Maxine, turning her attention back to Colin. “I know her very well.  He called her Palomita.  It means ‘little dove,’ you know.”

“I didn’t know that,” said Colin, thoughtfully. He suddenly realized that maybe there was more to their friendship.

“Maybe you can be there when we contact Theresa,” continued Colin.

“I should be, I know Terry very well,” said Maxine repeating herself, somewhat distracted.

“This is all real nice, but it’s not getting us anywhere.  Detective Fahey asked for a rundown. Do you think you can do that?” Joe interrupted, foolishly attempting authority.

Maxine sighed and continued, refusing to acknowledge Joe, looking directly at Colin.

“I was talking to Myrtle, she’s a bag lady who camps out in front of the Gag-in-the-Bag at Broadway and First,” she said. “That was at approximately 0250 hours.  I was writing up an F.I. when I heard what I thought were gunshots―two of them.  Everything echoes down here at night, all I knew is they sounded far away and south and east from where I was.  At first, I thought it was the parking garage at Horton Plaza.

“I didn’t even radio it in. You know, what if it was just firecrackers or something.  Anyway, I got in my unit and headed up to Fourth toward the parking garage to check it out.  As I was getting ready to turn into the garage entrance on G, I just happened to look up the street.

“I could barely make out that group,” Maxine said, motioning to the gaggle Jessop and Toru were interviewing.  “But there were enough of them I could see something was going on.

“I came up G and at about Seventh, I could see someone lying on the ground.  I stopped and walked the rest of the way.  When I got to the corner, they all started yelling a cop had been shot.  I didn’t see a unit parked anywhere.

“I told everybody to stand back and went up to check out who was on the ground.  I could see the uniform, but I couldn’t tell who it was.”

Maxine stopped for a moment, obviously shaken.

“I couldn’t even tell it was Pete at first,” she said. “His face is practically gone.  I had to look at the name tag confirm it was him.”

“What time was that?” interrupted Colin.

“I found him about 0310 hours.  You can confirm that with dispatch, I radioed them as soon as I stopped at Seventh and G.  I put out 11-99 as soon as I saw the uniform.”

“What did you do next?” asked Colin.

“I shook down those four for weapons.  Then I noticed the door open on the store,” replied Maxine. “I wanted to start CPR, but there was nothing left I could do.”

Colin had noticed the blood on Maxine’s hands and uniform. From the knees down to her boots were covered.  He decided not to ask why she hadn’t started CPR.

“I went in the store, just to make sure there was no one waiting for me to turn my back,” Maxine stopped, gathering her thoughts and holding herself together for moment. “It’s a massacre in there.”

“What did you find?” asked Colin, encouraging her to continue.

“Nobody alive, that’s for sure,” said Maxine, looking toward the shop. “There’s a girl, what’s left of her, in the front part.  Her head’s practically hacked off.  There’s a machete next to her.”

“In the back there’s a guy,” Maxine continued. “He was dead too. It looks like he was shot about three times.  Leg, chest, and head.  There was not much blood.  Probably a small caliber hand gun. No one else inside, though.”

“Did you touch anything?” asked Colin.

“I moved Pete a little to check for vitals.  I didn’t touch the others,” said Maxine, recalling her actions. “Oh, I kicked the machete under a counter with my foot, but I didn’t touch anything inside with my hands.”

“Did anyone go inside besides you?” asked Colin, in an attempt to determine just how much the scene had been contaminated.

“As far as I could tell, I was the first one in the store.  Mills and Richards were first to arrive.  Uncle Gerry — I mean Agent Mills — checked Pete.  Everyone else backed off, except Lt. Jorgenson.  She insisted on going in the store.  I wasn’t with her, but it sounded like she tripped and fell.  She had blood all over her when she came out.”

They all looked toward Wicked Wanda, who was now busy explaining something to a television camera crew about a block away.

“Too bad about that,” said Joe, finally adding to the conversation, “I understand it’s hard getting blood out of those designer uniforms she wears.”

Maxine managed a small smile.  Maybe Amadiana wasn’t such an asshole after all, she thought.

“Anything else you can think of?” asked Colin.

“Well, when I first pulled up, Gloria — that’s the he-she down there,” Maxine said, pointing toward the group with Moru and Jessop. “She was kneeling down about three feet away from Pete.  She was acting real agitated and she had some blood on her hands.  No weapons on her though.”

“We’ll check her out.  Thanks.  We’ll need that Field Interview from you. Why don’t you submit it with your 153?” said Colin.

The 153 was the name given to the Departments Officer’s Report, due to the fact it was report form number 153.  It was used for any type of report which did not fit into the other standard report forms.  It was used especially for responses to disciplinary action and spawned the infamous “153

Now the 153 Club was a trendy BBQ bistro and had been used for that pre-Tail Hook movie Top Gun.  After being contaminated by Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis, no self-respecting cop would be found in there, and the place was sold and reopened catering to tourists and squid fly-boy wannabes.

“If you can sit tight for a little bit, I’ll arrange for you to be there when the Chief goes to tell Theresa about her Dad,” said Colin.

“Thank you,” said Maxine.  Looking toward Pete’s lifeless body, she added, “I know her very well.”

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Steve Burns

Steve Burns is a former cop for the San Diego Police Department and first introduced himself to the Free Press as a Sex in San Diego contributor. His 32-chapter novel, The Dove and the Cockerel, is set in the late 80s and takes place over the 72-hour period of an investigation of some murders. A new chapter will be published every Saturday.

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  1. avatarAnna Daniels says

    Saturday- that means the next installment of the Dove & the Cockerel! I love Saturdays.