"Well I'm not going to sit here in these bloody clothes all day." At that moment Deputy Chief Wilson opened the door.
"We have got a room from the Sheriff for a command post," he informed us. The Captain of Ds just looked at me.
"Chief, the man is already dead, we don't need a command post," I said. I could afford to call him on it, since I had nothing to lose.
"It's not for that part of the operation. It is to manage the news media."
"I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not managing anything. I'm going to tell the truth from day one and let the chips fall where they may." I looked at the shock on the Deputy Chief's face. "Now I am willing to walk over to the station and be interviewed without a union lawyer, but there is a price for that. I want to see the tape from the camera in the hallway."
"Why do you need to see that?" the Chief asked.
"Because I was a little busy at the time to manage my kill," I said that with an sarcastic look. "I want to know, if I was the one who put that shot in the Chipster's butt."
"Who," the captain of Ds asked."
"One of the wounded is Chip Adams, the defense attorney for Edward Slocum." I said it evenly.
The Captain of Ds look at me and said, "Tell me you didn't shoot Chip in the ass." Without any warning he broke into laughter.
"God I hope not. If they pull my bullet from his butt, I will most likely spend the rest of my life in court."
"Listen Abba, if we use the Sheriff's office, we can take you through the tunnel."
"I am not slinking out of here. If chip wants to tackle me, I'm not going to start out acting as if I had something to hide. I'm going out that door, then walk across the plaza and into the back door of the station. That is not up for debate. Anything else happens it's going to be false imprisonment just ask one of the lawyers in the hall."
The deputy chief got on his cell phone and mumbled for five minutes. The captain and I tried not to laugh. While we waited I asked, "Who was the lady shyster?"
"Mary Seymore from Williamsport. She had a DUI in that courtroom later. I have no idea why she was in the hall so early. Chip was probably there to enter a plea for some sleeze bag. I can't believe that I didn't recognize his name."
"Who would associate the Chipster with the name Samuel Adams III for god sake. I mean Chip is such a joke the name is way too lofty for him."
"Alright Abba, take your perp walk." Wilson said the words, but I could tell he would rather have put me under arrest.
We left the conference room and stepped into a sea of flashing lights and waves of moving bodies. "Damn Cap there aren't this many news whores in the whole damn state." I said.
"The have them circling overhead in planes at all times. They just parachute them in wherever they are needed." We both laughed.
I remembered to hold my head up and to walk slow and straight. I wanted them to know that I had nothing to hide. I answered the first shouted question with, "Guys give me a chance to tell the boss my story, then I promise I will tell you everything." I meant exactly that. It was the cover up that got people chopped off at the knees.
The tape showed nothing and for that I was grateful. The brass badges were busy making up shit to make them sound heroic, but I was determined to stick with the facts. "The facts, just the facts ma'am," as Joe Friday would have said.
I got a free lunch and a gallon or two of coffee while we went over and over the events. "So how are you going to tell it?" Wilson asked.
"Good God Wilson, we have been over this a dozen times. I'm going to tell it just like it happened and I'm going to tell it all."
"That's a mistake."
"A cop saying the truth is a mistake, I never thought I would hear that in a police station."
I took a deep breath and went out to talk to the press unofficially. I was mobbed as I walked to the back steps of the city hall. When we got outside I said, "Okay this is going to be my only press conference. I am a cop not a politician, so make the most of it guys."
"First of all let me outline what we know now," I hadn't noticed Deputy Chief Wilson tagging along behind me, but he took over the spotlight quickly. "Shortly after 9AM one Thomas Jane, a prisoner bing brought over from the county lock up for arraignment, somehow took possession of the court bailiff's pistol and began firing. According to witnesses he shot the bailiff in the face, then turned the gun on a group of attorneys standing in the hall waiting for the court to come into session. At that point Captain Faircloth and officer Abba came upon the scene. Officer Abba engaged Mr. Jane in a gun battle in witch Jane was killed. In the shootout The court Bailiff Aubrey Meadows was killed as well as Thomas Jane, Mary Seymore, and Samuel Adams III were wounded." After Mr Jane was down, officer Abba and Captain Faircloth gave first aid to the victims until the paramedics arrived."
The prick said, "I'll take a few questions now." I walked over to the side as far as the steps allowed , since it was an old style building, that was quite a ways. The reporters followed me.
"Officer Abba, could you tell us what went through your mind?"
"First all it's Detective Sergeant Abba, and sure. I was thinking, I better kill this son of bitch or he is going to kill me."
"Did you know the Bailiff was dead?"
"Well I knew he was down from a gunshot at close range. That was all my brain had time to process. I was convinced that I was in a kill or be killed situation." I noticed that all the reporters were standing on the steps below me. They had all left Wilson.
"This is a small town did you know the two wounded lawyers?"
"I know Chip Adams from court, but the female I had never seen before."
"Have you ever had dealing with Mr Adams in court?"
"Sure Chip and I have been on opposite sides. As you said it is a small town."
"Any hard feelings between you."
"The court system in this country is adversarial, so of course there are short term hard feelings. Iin the end you have to put those aside and move on. Before you go too far down this road let me say this. If you have ever been in a shoot out, then you know that you don't have time to dredge up old feelings. It is a pure adrenalin rush like no other. Chip got caught in the crossfire. I honestly didn't even know he was in the hall until I pressed paper towels into his wound.
I don't think I had any stray rounds, but I might well have. I wasn't counting my rounds, I was trying to stop an armed killer from killing me or anyone else."
I stopped looked up took a deep breath and said, "As a cop you train for a situation like this hoping it never happens. When it does, your only thought is do what you know how to do, and it will be the right thing. Chip and the Seymore woman are alive, it could have been much worse, so lets all pray for them both. It the only think left that we can do at this point."
I gave them a lot of personal information before Wilson came over and put an end to it. He waited until we were alone before he said, "You son of bitch you hijacked my news conference. I am going to push your ass from the plane for this."
"I would be careful if I were you. It's going to be hard to call me unfit for duty after this. If I fight it, then it will be the first civil service inquiry on court TV."
I drove home still speeding on adrenaline. It was hard to calm down enough to take a nap. After a shower and some clean clothes, I managed to lay down and then to drift off.
The knock on the door woke me. od you are some kind of hero," Molly shouted.
"What the hell are you talking about." I opened the door fully and stepped back. Molly entered her mouth still running a mile a minute.
"You are all over the radio and TV."
"Must be a slow news day." I turned to the kitchen. I found the cold coffee left from the morning's pot. I put it into, my one modern appliance, the microwave oven. I had more or less tuned Molly out.
"Loved that line, 'better kill the son of bitch before he kills me,' man that is classic.""
"Not really, just what goes through every cop's mind when he has to shoot, I'm sure."
She went on as though I hadn't even spoken, "And that piss ant calling you officer, when he had to know that you are a fucking Detective Sergeant. Man they were making a big deal of that on FOX."
"Yeah they are making that elitist vs blue collar argument."
"Molly what the hell are you talking about?"
"I don't really know," she said giggling, "but everyone is talking about it."
"Oh crap, that tears it. They are going to throw me to the wolves."
"Not a chance, you know that retired judge on Fox News?"
"Yeah," I replied.
"He said something like, watch the police department come after him for breaking ranks, and the commentator said that would be a bad idea. The the judge said something like there are cops and there are politicians in ever police department, and it would be a good time for the cops to win one."
"My guess is I will be out of a job in a week. I am under review for early retirement based on a heart attack."
"Yeah that turd said that too. One of the commentators said he was pretty sure you have proved yourself fit for duty."
The cops have all the time in the world. They will just delay the decision until this blows over, and it will." I knew that it would last a couple of news cycles though. More if the Chipster decided to sue the city or me.