Authors: Gary Hastings
Chief of Detectives
Published by Alabaster Book Publishing
Other Books By
Pursuing Excellence in Criminal Investigations
Copyright 2012 by Gary Hastings
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, businesses, or events, is coincidental.
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopied, recorded or otherwise without prior written permission from the author.
Published by Alabaster Book Publishing
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Kernersville, North Carolina 27285
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ISBN 13: 978-0-9840004-9-4
Library of Congress Control
Friday, April 2-Day 1
Borough of Queens, New York
Rodriguez had been in a hundred bars like the Blue Goose Cantina. They were all the same with loud, blaring, salsa music, the smell of sweat, tequila, spicy food, and the sound of Spanish mixed with broken English. Tony didn’t frequent these places as a customer; he was a Detective Second Grade with the New York City Police Department’s Organized Crime Control Bureau. A call from a snitch informing Tony that he needed to check out the back room at the Blue Goose Cantina was his reason for being there. He had no idea that he had less than one hour to live.
Tony was wearing a sport shirt and jeans with a black leather jacket to conceal his weapon. He sat down at a corner table, sipped on a ginger ale and munched on the Blue Goose Cantina’s bright blue tortilla chips. He made sure that he had a clear view of the door to the back room.
Thirty minutes later, Tony saw a chubby waitress with a tray full of Coronas knock on the door. The door opened, and she was quickly ushered inside. Tony got up and walked toward the door so he could get a look inside when the waitress came out. Leaning against a post, Tony pretended to be talking on his cell phone, while his eyes were glued to the door. He removed and turned on a new piece of equipment from the pocket of his black leather jacket; a gold and black pen with a built-in video camera that he clipped to his jacket pocket.
When the door opened again, Tony was shocked as he got a glimpse of a familiar face. He knew this was the real deal and that he had to let someone know. As he turned to leave, he felt someone grabbing his collar and a sharp object in his back.
“Don’t move or it will be your last.” said an unknown voice.
Tony was shoved into the back room. He recognized several people and realized that he might not make it out of this alive. Then everything went blank and Tony’s lifeless body fell to the floor.
Saturday, April 3- Day 2
107th Police Precinct Patrol Area
Borough of Queens, New York
Officers Jacob Smith and Irving Maxwell were having a quiet Saturday morning in their Queens precinct. They had started the day with black coffee and fresh bagels at the Lowenstein Bakery near Queens College. It was a “cop-friendly” place, where you could get hot coffee and a couple of bagels for a buck. They were riding through the neighborhoods when the radio interrupted, “Car 107 David, K.” Maxwell picked up the microphone and answered, “107 David, we are at Queens College, K.” NYPD radio transmissions were ended with”K” so officers would know that the transmission was over and avoid talking over each other. “107 David, we have a report of a man down at 3312 Plaza Terrace near the subway platform. A passerby advised he was in the vacant lot near the roadway, K.” Maxwell acknowledged, “107 David 10-4 3312 Plaza Terrace, K.”
Jacob Smith was driving and knew they could be there in less than 5 minutes if he used the lights and an occasional “whoop, whoop,” of the siren to clear intersections. He maneuvered the big, white, NYPD Ford Crown Victoria with ease through the familiar streets, arriving under the elevated subway platform in about 3 1/2 minutes.
Both officers got out of the car and didn’t see anything unusual. It occurred to them that this might be a drunk who had slept it off and had now moved on. Jacob Smith spotted him first and pointed him out to his partner.
“Look Irv, there’s something over there.”
As they walked closer, they could see that it was a man in a black, leather jacket with jeans. One look at his pale expressionless face and they knew he was dead. Maxwell keyed his portable radio.
“107 David, Central, K.”
“107 David, go ahead, K.”
“107 David, we have a confirmed DOA at 3312 Plaza Terrace, and need the 107 Squad and Crime Scene Unit to respond. Also notify the 107 Sergeant, K.”
The two officers returned to the patrol car where they grabbed some crime scene tape to seal off the scene. They knew that in just a few minutes this place would be lit up like a “Christmas turkey.” The first two detectives to arrive from the 107th Squad were Mary McDonald and Mike Logan. Mary was a tall, shapely redhead, with a reputation for toughness. Mike was an older, bald, overweight, somewhat sloppy, but seasoned detective, who was painfully slow and methodical. Most people would say he was a “dinosaur.” They immediately crossed under the crime scene tape and walked over to the body, where the two uniformed cops were standing.
“What we got here, Irv?”
Irving Maxwell explained to Mike the details of the call and what they had found so far.
“So, do we know who our unlucky client is? He’s wearing a nice leather jacket.”
“We haven’t touched the body, wanted to wait until you guys got here.”
Mike Logan reached down, starting to reach into the victim’s pocket, but was quickly scolded by Mary McDonald. “Mike, what are you doing? We shouldn’t touch the body until CSU has taken photographs and processed the scene.”
Mike quickly stopped and fired back a response. “I think you’ve been watching too much television, and are taking this CSI crap too seriously. I was solving homicides without those idiots when you were still playing with Barbie Dolls!”
Mary dished it right back.
“And you would have solved more cases if you had used your brain instead of your ego.”
“Well, thank you, my redheaded friend. I can always depend on you to bust my balls.”
“Of course, partner.”
Mike Logan knew that Mary was exactly right, even though he hated to admit it. The cardinal rule of crime scene investigation was “Do not touch, alter or move any item on a crime scene until it has been photographed, sketched, and documented.” They would wait for the Crime Scene Unit.
Lieutenant J. J. Stanton was the “whip” of the 107th Detective Squad. Stanton was a no-nonsense kind of boss who got right to work. He arrived on the scene and was quickly briefed by McDonald and Logan. He then assigned other responding detectives to canvass the area around the scene to look for witnesses.
The CSU team arrived and began documenting the scene. Taking photographs and measurements from every angle on a sketch made it possible to recreate the scene in court. After thoroughly documenting these details, they turned their attention to the body. A representative from the medical examiner’s office was on the scene and would ultimately take the body to the New York City Medical Examiners’ Office for an autopsy.
CSU Sergeant George McBain had worked many crime scenes in his 28 years with the NYPD. He knew forensics well and had a reputation for thoroughness and meticulous attention to details. His full head of salt and pepper hair and his 5’ 4” diminutive stature were often the subject of teasing. He was wearing a rumpled, grey suit that had seen better days.
George McBain tried to work all cases the same and let the evidence and circumstances dictate his work. He started this case by doing forensic tapings of the clothing to collect any trace evidence. As he was examining the legs, he could feel something on the left ankle. George lifted the pant leg with his gloved hand and discovered an ankle holster with a small handgun in it. He snapped a few photographs and then removed the Velcro straps. Closely examining the weapon, he identified it as a “baby” Glock 9 mm. He bagged the gun for evidence, knowing it would be later examined for prints and test-fired.
George McBain continued his examination of the body and noticed a silver chain around the victim’s neck. It was covered in a plastic tube for comfort. George had seen these chains before, and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He gently pulled out the chain, and his fears were instantly realized. The chain was attached to a square leather case. On the front was an all-too-familiar sunburst gold shield lettered; “City of New York Police Detective.” George turned it over, and read the NYPD identification identifying the victim as Detective Second Grade Anthony P. Rodriguez.
Mike Logan looked at the credentials and the business cards inside, and then turned to the whip.
“Lou, this guy is on the job! His ID says he is Detective Anthony P. Rodriguez from OCCB.”
With over 35,000 cops in the NYPD, no one on the scene recognized him. Lieutenant Stanton acknowledged Mike Logan.
“Thanks Mike, I’d better notify the Chief of “D’s.”
Saturday, April 3-Day 2
Chief of Detectives’ Residence
Borough of Manhattan, New York
O’Connor enjoyed his Saturday mornings. It was one of the few times he often had a break in his work as Chief of Detectives of the New York City Police Department. With several thousand detectives in his command, he was a powerful man. Pat O’Connor had joined the NYPD by chance and frustration, but had grown to love it. He came to New York City from New Orleans on a jazz trumpet scholarship to the Julliard School of Music. After graduation, he tried to make it in the tough New York jazz scene, but found that the old style jazz he loved was not popular with the sophisticated audiences of the “Big Apple.”
Pat had been playing Dixieland Jazz at a club called the Steamboat Cafe where the local precinct cops would come in and have coffee. Over time, he got to know the guys well, and they encouraged him to apply to the NYPD. He was accepted and finished top in his class. He still loved his jazz and played his old horn often, but the NYPD consumed most of his life.
On this Saturday morning, he was listening to one of his favorite recordings, “Ella and Louis” which featured Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong with the Oscar Peterson Trio. Those old recordings were his stress therapy. When the phone rang, he knew it would be something serious. It was his driver, Detective Dickie Davis. All “Super Chiefs” in the NYPD had personal drivers.
“Good morning, Dickie, what do we have?”
“We have an OCCB Detective DOA in Queens, Chief.”
“Who is it?”
“Name is Anthony P. Rodriguez, and we have no suspects at this time.”
“Oh, my God, Tony Rodriguez! I know this guy. He helped me get interested in the job. When can you get here?”
“I can be there in 10 minutes, Chief.”
“Okay, I’ll be ready”
Pat went in his bedroom, and pulled out a clean, blue suit and a crisp, white shirt. As he quickly changed his clothes, his thoughts turned to Tony Rodriguez, who had been one of the regular coffee drinkers at the Steamboat Cafe many years ago. Pat tied his conservative tie in a double Windsor knot. He reached beside the bed, and put one of his Smith and Wesson 357 Magnum revolvers in an ankle holster, and put the other revolver in a holster on his belt. He dropped two speed loaders in each jacket pocket. The NYPD had never issued magnums, but Pat had gotten special authorization many years ago to carry his own. These were both Smith and Wesson model 640’s with concealed hammers and snub-nosed two-and-a-half-inch barrels. Most of the NYPD carried Glocks, but Pat was old fashioned and loved his revolvers. He had always carried two.