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Authors: Chuck Hustmyre

The Second Shooter (8 page)

BOOK: The Second Shooter
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Jake was a little taken aback. "How do you know that?"


"On me?"

Favreau nodded.

"So this thing you're going on about," Jake said, "the JFK thing, it happened twenty-five years before I was even born. It's ancient history. And it was solved. Case closed. Let it go."

"Is that what you think I should do?"

"Yes," Jake said, "because that's the only way we're going to figure out what's really going on. Because what happened tonight has nothing to do with what happened fifty years ago. It's about something that's happening, tonight, right here, right now."

Favreau sat still and silent, looking straight ahead over the steering wheel. After a long moment, he turned toward Jake. Their eyes met. "Your instincts are good. Just like your father's."

"My father?" Jake said. "What could you possibly know about my father?"

"I know he's a good investigator."

"How do you know that?"

"I told you...research."

Jake recalled an article that ran in the Eastern Maryland Gazette the day after his graduation from the Academy. A short piece about how Jake, as the son of a retired FBI agent, was carrying on the family tradition within the Bureau. "Of course he is," Jake said. "He spent twenty-five years in the FBI." Maybe Favreau really had done his research and even found that obscure article in a low-circulation, three-day-a-week suburban DC newspaper. Maybe.

"Why would you research my father?" Jake asked.

"As I said, your instincts are good. And you're right. There is something else going on."

"It doesn't take good instincts to figure out that you're in the middle of a shit storm after somebody shoots you with a Taser."

The Frenchman didn't respond.

At the FBI Academy, Jake and his classmates had all received training in interviewing and interrogation techniques, so Jake knew the power of silence, of just sitting there looking at the suspect. Most people were uncomfortable with silence, and they often felt an overpowering urge to fill it with something, with anything. And sometimes that anything was the truth they had been trying to hide all along. Evidently, Favreau knew the same thing. Probably better, because it was Jake who broke first. "So what is it?" he said. "What's the something else?"

Headlights swept into view in front of them, down the road near the entrance to the park. Favreau turned toward the lights. "Your friends are here."

Jake saw the close-set pair of headlights of a small car twisting up the road toward them. He hoped it was Chris's Honda.

"Be careful when you talk to them," Favreau said. "Trust your instincts."

"They're my friends," Jake said. "I trust them with my life."

The Frenchman kept his eyes on the oncoming headlights. "Good, because that's exactly what you're doing."

Jake turned to him. "I'm in this jam because of you. And my friends are risking a lot to help me. You need to tell us everything."

"I'll tell you everything I know," Favreau said. "But you need to be willing to listen."

Chapter 15

Jake opened the door and stepped out of the van. He stood by the front bumper. Favreau joined him.

For a moment the approaching car's headlights blinded them. Then the lights blinked out. Chris's Honda coasted to a stop ten feet in front of the van. Jake could see Chris behind the wheel and Stacy in the passenger seat. They opened the doors and stepped out of the car. Both eyed Favreau. Then Stacy rushed to Jake and threw her arms around him. He wasn't sure what to do. His arms felt awkward down at his sides. So he hugged her. When she stepped back she looked a little embarrassed. "Are you all right?" she asked.

He nodded. "Thank you for coming." Then he looked at Chris, still standing beside the driver's door of the Honda. "To both of you."

"What's this about, Jake?" Chris said. He pointed at Favreau. "And who's he?"

"Like I told you before the game," Jake said. "I got a duty agent call." He nodded at Favreau. "From him. He insisted we meet face to face. Then four guys in suits showed up and said they were taking him into custody. I identified myself as FBI and asked who they were. Then everything went to shit."

"What happened?" Stacy asked.

"They tried to arrest me."

"Arrest you?" Stacy said.

Jake nodded.

"And you're sure you told them you were FBI?"

"I badged them," Jake said. "Then one of them shot me with a Taser."

"Jesus Christ," Stacy said. "Who were they?"

"I have no idea."

She glanced at Favreau. "Why did they want him?"

"They didn't say," Jake responded.

"But you do know why," Favreau said. "Part of the reason, at least."

Stacy's face hardened. "What's he talking about, Jake?"

Jake didn't answer. If it didn't make sense to him, how could he explain it to his friends? Dallas? JFK? The grassy knoll? The whole thing was crazy.

"There's a Bureau-wide alert out for you," Chris said, still standing by the driver's door. Like he was afraid to come any closer because he might catch whatever bad shit Jake had. "We're under orders to arrest you on sight."

"Arrest me for what?" Jake said, hearing the hard edge in his own voice. "Those men tried to kill me, Chris, on the street and again at WFO. We barely got out alive."

"We?" Chris jabbed a finger at Favreau. "He's a terrorist, Jake. And you helped him escape."

"Terrorist," Jake repeated as he turned to Favreau. "That's the third time I've heard that. Why does everybody keeping saying the word terrorist?"

"He tried to kill the president of France," Chris said.

"The guy with the hot wife?" Jake asked, and he saw Stacy roll her eyes.

"No, not Sarkozy," Chris said. "He's not even the president anymore, but I don't mean the new one either. I'm talking about Charles de Gaulle."

Jake looked back and forth from Favreau to Chris, not fully comprehending his friend's words. "The guy from World War Two?"

"Yeah," Chris said. "But he was president after the war."

"He's dead, though, right?" Jake said. "I mean he's been dead for a long time. I think."

"Yeah, he's dead now." Chris said. "But in 1962, when he was president, a dozen French soldiers ambushed his car. Being French, they missed their target, but they did manage to kill a couple of motorcycle cops." Chris pointed at Favreau. "He was the only one who got away. The rest were executed by firing squad. He's had an international warrant out for him for fifty years, Jake."

Jake turned to Favreau. "Is that true?"

The Frenchman nodded. "We hit the car with more than a hundred rounds. The bullets just didn't penetrate."

"So you really are a...terrorist," Jake said, his head reeling. "And all that nonsense about Kennedy..."

"Was also true," Favreau said.

"Wait," Stacy said. "What nonsense about Kennedy?"

Favreau looked at her and said in a calm voice, "I killed President Kennedy."

"Oh, my God," Stacy said, her tone unmistakable. Not the Oh, my God of someone who just realized the truth behind a great mystery. But the Oh, my God of someone who knows for certain that the person she's talking to is batshit crazy. She looked at Jake, eyes brimming with pity. "Jake, what have you gotten yourself into?"

"I know it sounds crazy but—"

The beating of a helicopter cut off the rest of Jake's words. The sound was incredibly close. Helicopters buzzed around Washington all the time, and like everyone else in the nation's capital, Jake had learned to mostly ignore them. But this one sounded like it was coming down right on top of them.

The big helicopter, a Bell UH-1 "Huey," bounded over a line of trees and swept toward them. For an instant it was just a dark silhouette. Then the night exploded with blinding light. Jake threw his hands up to shield his eyes, but all he could see was a swirling mishmash of cascading colors. Over the whoop-whoop-whoop of the helicopter's rotors, he heard a metallic voice booming through a loudspeaker, "Drop your weapons and lie facedown on the ground."

Jake didn't have a weapon. Neither did Favreau. They had left the stolen pistols inside the stolen van. They were unarmed. Their hands empty. So why was the guy in the helicopter shouting for them to drop their weapons?

"I'm sorry, Jake," Chris said. He was clutching his FBI-issued Glock in a two-handed combat grip and pointing it at Jake and Favreau.

Stacy's face was white with fear as she stared at the pistol. "Chris, what did you do?"

"He told them where you were meeting us," Favreau said.

"I did my duty," Chris shouted over the thump of the rotors. "You're an intel analyst, Stacy, not an agent. It's my responsibility to make arrests. Jake is a fugitive. They're both fugitives."

The helicopter hovered fifty feet above them. The voice boomed from the loudspeaker again. "Get on the ground now!"

"You heard him," Chris said as he glanced up at the helicopter.

That's when Favreau moved. He was amazingly fast for an old man, crossing the eight feet of empty ground between himself and Chris almost faster than Jake's brain could register the movement. And clearly faster than Chris could register it. Favreau swept the Glock aside and drove the heel of his palm into Chris's chin. Then he twisted the gun from Chris's hand as the FBI agent collapsed to the ground.

Someone inside the helicopter opened fire. The weapon was on full automatic, the bullets blowing chunks of asphalt and clods of earth into the air as they chewed up the ground.

Favreau raised Chris's pistol. "Run!"

Jake grabbed Stacy's arm and hauled her toward the van just as Favreau started popping rounds at the helicopter.

Chapter 16

Inside the helicopter, Blackstone knelt in the open doorway of the troop compartment and clung one-handed to a strap on the bulkhead as the aircraft banked away from the ground fire. In his other hand he held an M-4 carbine, the cutdown version of the M-16. The bolt was locked back on an empty chamber, and even with the rotor wash blasting through the open doors he could smell the burned gunpowder. One of the incoming bullets had struck the doorframe just a few inches from his face, and, by God, it had made him feel alive.

He turned to look at Donahue. The FBI man sat on the deck of the troop compartment, back pressed against the rear bulkhead, legs splayed for balance, and a look of terror on his face. "First time under fire?" Blackstone asked, but he got no answer, something that left him with a feeling of utter contempt for the FBI bureaucrat.

Blackstone glanced toward the cockpit. A warning light was flashing on the instrument panel, but the helicopter was still flying so whatever the problem was it couldn't be too serious. "Take us back around," he told the pilot through the intercom microphone attached to his helmet.

"We've been hit," the pilot said. "I've got to land immediately."

"Negative," Blackstone ordered. "Take us back around and make it lower this time."


Jake shoved Stacy into the van through the side door and piled in behind her. He could hear the helicopter beating the air nearby.

Favreau pulled open the driver's door and reached under the seat for the Beretta.

"No more shooting," Jake said.

"They're coming back," the Frenchman said as he turned to look at Jake. "And they're definitely going to be shooting at us."

Jake hesitated for just a second and then nodded. With pistol in hand, Favreau stepped around the open driver's door and stood in front of the van. Then the helicopter was on top of them again, its gazillion-candlepower spotlight turning a sixty-foot circle of night around the van into high noon. Gunfire ripped from the open side door.

Jake pushed Stacy to the floor and lay on top of her as bullet fragments and shards of blacktop peppered the van. Through the windshield he caught a glimpse of Favreau firing the Beretta up into the belly of the beast. Then the big spotlight burst into a single brilliant flash and went dark as glass rained down on top of the van.

The helicopter spun away from Favreau's shots and the line of automatic fire pouring from it raked across the Honda. The gas tank exploded and the concussion from the blast knocked Favreau off his feet, but even on his back he kept firing at the helicopter until the Beretta ran out of bullets.

Then Jake remembered his roommate. "Chris," he shouted as he leapt out of the van scrambled toward the burning car, but Favreau was already there, on his hands and knees, dragging Chris away from the flames. Jake grabbed one of Chris's arms and helped pull him toward a tree. Chris was conscious but still punch drunk. He shouted at them but his words were so slurred Jake couldn't make them out.

The helicopter circled back and hovered over the Honda, but without the big spotlight the only illumination was from the fire, and Favreau and Jake had pulled Chris out of its circle of light. So for the moment, at least, the darkness hid them.


Blackstone was kneeling in the open doorway of the helicopter, peering through the four-power ACOG sight on his M-4 and trying to find a target on the ground when Donahue grabbed him from behind and threw him down onto the steel deck. The fall surprised Blackstone, and he barely kept his grip on the carbine. As it was, he felt a stab of pain when one of the metal tie-down rings gouged his back.

The FBI agent stood over him, legs spread wide, fighting to control his balance in the pitching aircraft. He held a Glock pistol in his hand. "What the fuck are you doing?" Donahue shouted. "Those are my agents down there."

Blackstone kicked him in the balls.

The FBI agent dropped to his knees and clutched his groin with both hands. His pistol went clattering across the deck. Donahue eyed the gun and reached for it. Blackstone was impressed. The man has more backbone than I thought.

But that didn't change the outcome. Blackstone kicked the Glock out the open doorway, then rolled up into a low crouch in front of the FBI agent and pulled the man's face to within inches of his own. Donahue's eyes were wide with pain and Blackstone could almost smell the fear on him. "If you touch me again, you'll be the next thing that gets kicked out that door. Is that clear?"

BOOK: The Second Shooter
4.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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