By the time the police cars slid to a stop in the driveway, everything was in place. The Vietnamese guards disappeared with their weapons, Kelly was dressed and Mrs. Minh was insisting she was not badly hurt and didn’t need to go to any hospital. Kathy blocked off the hallway crime scene and Jack made sure the weapons of the two dead men in the marsh had been fired. Jack told Kathy to get her badge out. He hoped their badges, even from out of town, would cut them some slack with the Charleston cops. He knew he could count on Captain Shorer to stand by them, especially since this attempt on his life was another part of the Pittsburgh attack. His gun and Kathy’s were registered with the Pittsburgh police. And Kathy’s 911 call would help them with their plea of self-defense.
Jack, Shadow, Kathy and Kelly met the police cars in the driveway, displaying their badges. When the leading sergeant saw the badges, he slowed down and took his hand off his holstered Browning nine millimeter.
“We got a 911 call about shots being fired. Do you want to tell us what happened?’ Looking closer he saw the badges were issued by the Pittsburgh Police Department. “And you might include an explanation about the badges. Are you with the Pittsburgh police?”
Jack said, “We’re both on special assignment. Captain Shorer will vouch for us, but first the 911 call. A number of armed men attacked our home and wounded a woman inside who should have medical care.”
The sergeant called for his partner, who was near the patrol car to call for an ambulance. Jack said, “You also should call for a crime scene team. There are some dead men. Three outside and one inside. They were all armed. I don’t know if there are any more. I think we finished them.”
“What! You’re kidding me.”
“No. Wish I was. Come inside. We can start there.”
As Sergeant Wilson stepped up on the porch, he saw the broken glass and blood-stained floor. Down the hall brass rounds, drywall dust and shot-up doors lined the hall floor surrounding a pool of blood and a dead body.
“What the hell happened here? Jenkins, bring everyone up on the porch and get some backup in here. Get a roadblock set up. Nobody comes in but officials that need to be here. No tramping around until the crime scene team arrives. And don’t use your radios. Call in with a cell. Let’s keep the media out as long as we can. Looks like a damn war went on in this house. Send someone to the back of the house. Be careful, there may be more attackers out there.”
Jack said, “Your officer will find a body back by the pool deck. Two more are 50 feet or so out in the marsh.”
“Who in hell killed all these people?”
When Jack moved toward the pool deck, Kathy stepped in, still holding her badge, and said, “Sergeant, we did. Me, the Vietnamese house staff, Jack and Kelly, our houseguest. I’m Kathy Grayson, the man you were talking to is Jack Brandon. Over there,” pointing to Kelly, “is Miss Marino. Mr. and Mrs. Minh are staff members and Shadow, the big black bear-like creature, is the one who gave the alarm and tracked the two in the marsh.”
“We’ll need statements from all of you. But for now we must secure the crime scene area. I think you’ll need to find another place for a few days. Can you do that?”
“Of course, we’ll help in any way we can. We have a condo in town that will hold us until you’re done here.”
When Sergeant Wilson left to walk back to his squad car, Kathy took advantage of the opportunity to talk privately to Jack. She found him back by the pool. He was just finishing a heads-up call to Captain Shorer and was starting to call Frank when Kathy came up. He put his arm around her and said, “You done really good, managing all the pieces of the attack. And we didn’t lose anyone.”
“I told the Sergeant that we killed all those men after they attacked us and introduced him to all of us. He asked if we could find some place to relocate until the crime guys were finished. I told him we had a downtown condo.”
“Good. Our stance here is one of maximum cooperation without saying too much. Nothing about Hankins and the rug shop, or Frank. I think we’ll be okay, though the local chief may want to yell at us for a bit. Our answer is to ask how this could occur in a major southern city. Is our neighborhood safe?
“I’m not sure, but I think one of the attackers Shadow and I killed in the marsh was the fireman who asked so many questions at the rug shop fire. Killers on the city payroll. The media will love it. Your instincts were right again. You’re almost as good as Shadow.”
“High praise, Mr. Brandon, but no human is as good as Shadow. Thank God for that dog. Call Frank. I’m going back to talk to Kelly. She was wonderful. I saw just bit of a stark-naked Kelly lying on her side, pumping .45s down the hallway. What a sensation that would be on YouTube. We could make her famous. Seriously, she may need some TLC. She’s tough but shooting her first two people, even in self-defense, is going to give her some sleepless nights.”
Kelly had her mother’s genes. Three days after the violent attack, she told Kathy she was okay and sleeping well. She could call up the memories but her head was okay. She said that she was still in awe that she had been part of a team that stopped a surprise attack by four armed men and only Mrs. Minh had been hit in the arm requiring some tricky surgery. Fortunately, Charleston had quality medical care. She was with them now working with one arm in a sling and muttering about the scratch everyone was upset about. In her days with the PRU, she would have been on the next mission.
Jack was very pleased that they had escaped without legal problems. A phone call from Captain Shorer to Chief Lowell got them treated like active duty officers. The fact Jack and Kathy were not doing any active investigative work in Charleston eased all budding turf problems. They had weapons registered with Pittsburgh police because Jack, a Pittsburgh police sergeant, was on leave without pay while taking care of his father’s estate. Jack’s father was killed in by a team that may have been from Charleston. When the man who attempted to kill Jack, Kathy and Shadow in Pittsburgh was identified by the Charleston police as being a former city policeman fired for corrupt activities, Chief Lowell dropped all pending charges and said they were welcome to stay in Charleston as long as they wanted. The police force, to a man, admired the defenders of the Brandon house, and when they learned Kelly killed two of the attackers while naked, every bachelor cop and some who weren’t, wanted to date her.
The media coverage was intensive for three days with pictures of the house and occupants, especially Shadow and Kelly. Jack believed that their stay in Charleston was limited. With all the notoriety, he didn’t see how they could help Frank at CTC, and surely Joel Hankins would never come back to Charleston. Kathy had been in close touch with Frank, who felt the Professor was not through with Charleston and wanted them to stay in place for a few more months. Jack put his misgivings aside and agreed.
Next week Frank wanted Kathy and Kelly to take over watching Hankins. It seemed he relocated to Georgetown, SC. Kathy knew it would be a tedious, boring job but a good way to get Kelly some field experience. After seeing the images of Hankins’ killing of young women, Kathy was anxious to take him down. Before they left for Georgetown, she intended to show Kelly the images so she would know this guy was a real serial killer and to be extremely careful. Frank didn’t want to expose any of the Brandon group to his inside agents, so he sent all the surveillance reports and images to her MacAir notebook. They were scheduled to pick up surveillance of Hankins tomorrow at 11:00. He had moved into an apartment over an empty garage on the west end of Highmarket Street in Georgetown. The reports had seen him put his gray Ford Explorer in the garage. Therefore, he must also be renting the garage.
Jack hated to see Kathy and Kelly disappear for an indefinite time, even if it was only 90 minutes from Charleston. He could tell Shadow knew Kathy was going away. The big black Bouvier had bonded with Kathy from day one. He had to contact Lou who would now be reporting to him. If there was no sign of activity from the Professor in the next two weeks, he might be in the wind. At least they had stopped his car bombing attack.