Continued from Chapter 24.
Morgan noticed the broken radio first. He picked up the pieces and made a feeble attempt to put them back together.
“This one’s tits up,” he remarked as he handed it to Scott Raines.
Shelley and Colin had returned from opposite ends of the block.
“No one out front saw him or anyone matching the description of our suspects go by,” Shelley reported.
“I didn’t see anyone up the block there,” said Colin, pointing up the hill toward the corner.
“Nobody came my way,” said Scott Raines, examining the radio. “They must have gone east up the hill or north around the corner. E, you and Morgan take my unit up the hill. Colin, go back up to the corner and start checking north. I will get a patrol unit to catch up with you. I will get a command post started.”
They went quickly and wordlessly to their tasks as Scott Raines requested additional help over the radio.
Colin was midway up the block behind Thrashers when he heard the first gunshot coming from the north. The second followed almost immediately, then a third nearly drowned out by a jet airliner passing overhead. He began running in the general direction of the sound.
“Unit 21-23 Fahey, I have gunshots north of my location,” Colin yelled into his portable radio.
“Unit 21-23 Fahey, 10-20?” responded the radio operator, requesting his location.
“Unit 21-23 Fahey, one block north of Laurel, one block east of Kettner,” he panted into the radio as he ran.
“All units in the area of Laurel and Kettner, Unit 21-23 Fahey reports gunshots north of his location,” broadcasted the dispatcher.
Several patrol units and a vice detective unit came over the air in a cacophony of radio voices responding to the call.
“Unit 21-23 SAM, clear the air for an all units,” came the authoritative voice of Scott Raines.
“Unit 21-23 SAM, go ahead,” acknowledged the dispatcher.
“Homicide Team Four detectives are in pursuit of two possible 187 suspects. Subject one is a white female adult, mid-twenties, five-foot-ten, short blonde hair, last seen wearing a black leather jacket and tattered denims. Subject two is a black male adult, late twenties, early thirties, shaved head, possible scar on face, six-foot to six-foot-three, muscular, wearing dark clothing. Subjects last seen in the area of Thrashers bar. Detective Amadiana is missing, believed to be in pursuit of subjects. Gunshots may be related.”
Colin continued running to the corner, then turned back to Kettner Boulevard. He saw a blue Ford Bronco driving south on Kettner as he reached the corner. There appeared to be only a Hispanic driver. The Bronco was too far away to read the license plates. He mentally filed the information. He was looking for a black man and a white woman.
He slowed to a jog as he continued up Kettner, looking into the fenced yards and parking lots of commercial buildings. As he passed a gap between two warehouses he stopped to look. Under the harsh glare of the security lights, he could see two figures among the debris at the other end. The first was sitting slumped with his back against the wall. The other was lying on his back.
Colin stepped away from the entrance to the passageway. Pointing his pistol toward the figures, using the corner of the warehouse for cover, he surveyed the passageway. He waited several seconds looking for any movement, listening for any sound. Although he could see no movement from the figures, he could hear a faint mumbling. Nothing else stirred in the corridor.
Colin stepped back away from the passageway and lifted the handi-talkie to his mouth. “Unit 21-23 Fahey,” he spoke quietly into the receiver and waited for the response from dispatch.
“Unit 21-23 Fahey, go ahead,” replied the dispatcher.
“Unit 21-23 Fahey, start a cover unit to my location. I am about four blocks north of Thrashers on Kettner Boulevard, mid-block.” Colin looked around for an address. Seeing none, he continued, “I am between two warehouses in a sort of alley with dumpsters. I have two subjects at the other end.”
“Unit 6-14 KING, we are three blocks away. Will cover,” chirped the two man patrol in response to Colin’s request.
“Unit 6-14 KING, 10-4. All units, stay off the air until Code Four,” commanded the dispatcher.
The arrival of the unit took mere seconds; the wait, however, seemed to take hours. Colin continued to observe the figures down the corridor. Headlights out, gliding in like a shark, the patrol unit suddenly appeared from up the street. The two officers noiselessly exited the vehicle.
“These guys are good,” observed Colin to himself. He pulled his coat back with his free hand, exposing his badge on his waistband.
The officers made their way to the opposite side of the alley from Colin. They both wore old-style Tuffy jackets, black nylon waist-length jackets with a mock black sheepskin collar. They wore light weight black leather gloves. The first officer took a position at the corridor entrance, aiming a twelve gauge shotgun toward the figures. Satisfied his partner was in position to cover, the second officer, his 9 mm Glock drawn, stepped away from the corridor into the darkness of the street and made his way to Colin. As he reached his position, Colin could read “S.L. Whitcomb” on the officer’s name tag. The single star below indicated at least five years with the Department. There was also a “SWAT” pin on the jacket, indicating he was assigned to Special Weapons and Tactics.
“What have you got?” whispered Officer Whitcomb.
“Team Four was on stakeout and got in pursuit of two 187 suspects from last night. We lost them and one of our detectives is missing. I heard shots fired from this area about three minutes ago. I’ve got two subjects in the alley.” Colin motioned with his head. “No movement, but I thought I heard a voice.”
Officer Whitcomb nodded his head in acknowledgment. “I’ll stand by here and guide in the cover units. Tommy will go down with you and check it out.” Not waiting for a reply from Colin, Officer Whitcomb snapped his fingers quietly to get his partner’s attention. Through a series of hand signals, he indicated that he would stay in position and his partner would cover Colin. The first officer acknowledged with a quick “thumbs up.”
Officer Whitcomb turned to Colin, “Whenever you’re ready.”
Colin made eye contact with the first officer, nodded his head and they both slipped quietly into the corridor. They made their way cautiously through the debris. The officer covered Colin as he checked the first dumpster. Finding no one, they moved to the next. Colin covered on this one. They were now only a few feet from the figures. Colin had now realized the figure against the wall was Joe, mumbling to himself. Blood ran down his face and onto his collar from a wound on the side of his head. The second figure was the black man. A large pool of blood had formed around his supine body.
Colin held up his hand to stop the other officer’s progress. There was still one last dumpster which could offer a hiding place. The officer briefly raised the shotgun as Colin passed to his side of the corridor.
“That’s detective Amadiana sitting against the wall. Cover me while I check him out.”
“Gotcha, go,” was the officer’s terse reply as he continued to aim the shotgun at the last dumpster.
Colin eased his way down the last few feet of the corridor toward Joe.
“Joe, Joe,” Colin whispered urgently. He could see Joe’s pistol hanging from his hand as he continued mumbling, unaware of Colin’s approach. He did not want to surprise the obviously wounded detective and end up getting shot. Colin eased into a crouch next to Joe and gently took the pistol from his hand. Joe did not respond. Colin indicated with another nod of his head to the other officer to proceed and check out the last dumpster. The officer gingerly stepped over the body of Tyrone and moved to the last dumpster, all the time the barrel of his shotgun leading his progress. Finding nothing, he relaxed somewhat. He turned to his partner and flashed four fingers, signifying the alley was clear. Then he pointed to Tyrone’s body. “This one’s 11-44.”
“Code Four at our location,” said Officer Whitcomb, “Start a supervisor and medi-vac unit to our location. We’ll need at least three units for crime scene protection and an area search.”
Meanwhile, Colin was examining Joe, who was still quietly mumbling to himself. The blood was from a laceration along Joe’s hairline.
“Joe…Joe, look at me. It’s Colin,” he said, trying to console his partner.
Joe turned to Colin, his eyes red and wet with tears. “Mighty fucked up,” was all he could manage, then he sniffled and sighed deeply.
“Come on, Joe, let’s get you out of here,” said Colin, as he helped Joe to his feet. “I’m taking him to your car. You got this end?” he said to the officer with the shotgun. The officer nodded stoically. His name tag bore the name, “Thomas Dix” and also had one star. He too wore a “SWAT” pin.
Colin supported Joe with an arm around his waist, the other holding tight to his arm. Joe shuffled like a rag doll with legs as he allowed himself to be guided out of the passage way. Colin led Joe to Whitcomb’s and Dix’s cruiser. He opened the passenger door and sat Joe down in the seat. Colin let him sit for a moment to try gathering himself. Two more patrol units had arrived as well as the rest of Team Four in Scott Raines car. They had parked down at the corner and were now trotting up the street.
Colin’s first thought was that Joe had shot Tyrone. The head wound was far too large, however, for a .38 caliber round. He took Joe’s revolver from his pocket and opened the cylinder. Dim light filtered from the alley way, but it was sufficient to tell Joe had fired no rounds from his pistol. He closed the cylinder and pocketed the weapon.
“You two, get around back there and check the other side of the fence,” commanded Whitcomb to the first two officers to arrive. “Watch your back. We have at least one more out there.” The officers hurried off down the street to find a way around the warehouse.
“Colin, what the hell happened here?” asked Scott Raines as he stopped next to him. He looked at Joe in the passenger seat. “Holy shit. Joe, are you okay?”
“Mighty fucked up,” said Joe to no one in particular.
Colin pulled Scott Raines back. “The head wound appears superficial, Scott, but he is really whacked. I haven’t been able to find out what happened, yet. Give me a minute, maybe I can get him to talk.”
“What’s in the alley?” asked Scott.
“We have the black guy, the one we think is Tyrone. He is EOS.” replied Colin, using the acronym for End of Shift. “He took one in the chest and one in the head. There is no one else in the alley. They’re checking around back right now.”
“Did Joe shoot him?” asked Scott Raines.
Colin shook his head. “I don’t think so. The wounds are way too big for a .38 and I checked Joe’s revolver. It doesn’t look like he fired.” Colin retrieved the pistol and handed it to the sergeant. Scott Raines opened the cylinder and checked. He drew the same conclusion as Colin.
“OK…OK. I am going to have the D.L. start one of the other teams out. You all are too bushed to do any more right now. In other words, do not get involved, just stand by. Colin, I want you to get Joe to the hospital and stand by with him. See if you can find out what the hell went on here. E, Morgan, just hang out by my unit for the time being.” Raines motioned Shelley and Morgan off. They went gladly. After all, the whole team was hitting the twenty four hour wall.
“Colin,” said Scott Raines, pulling him aside, “Stay with Joe until I can get there.”
“Sure, Scott,” replied Colin with a question in his voice.
“I will explain later. Just stay with him.”
Colin nodded as Raines gripped his arm. His look told him something was up, but not to ask questions. Raines released Colin and returned to his car. He retrieved the cellular telephone and called the Duty Lieutenant.
“Whitcomb,” called Colin. “I’m taking your ride to the hospital. I’ll have a two man unit return ASAP.”
Officer Whitcomb waved an acknowledgement. “Take care of your partner.”
“Thanks,” said Colin, climbing into the driver’s seat and starting the car. He strapped Joe into his seat before driving off. Colin picked up the microphone. “Unit 21-23 Fahey, advise UCSD I’m transporting a wounded officer to their ER. He has a head wound and appears to be in shock. ETA about five.”
“10-4 Unit 21-23 Fahey,” responded the dispatcher.
“Hang in there partner, we’ll get you fixed up.”
Joe sighed deeply, “Mighty fucked up.”
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