At 3:30 Jack’s cell awakened. Lou’s voice said he saw two men at a high point on the bank overlooking the parking lot using binoculars. They were checking the entire lot but seemed to focus on the northwest corner. No cars were headed to that position, and no one was walking near the Explorer. Lou’s voice got more urgent as he said, “Jack, I see movement in the Explorer and the two guys are coming down the bank toward the Explorer. The driver’s side door is opening. The bait is awake. Storm has the video running. The two men have split up and are approaching the Explorer from both sides. Your perp is out of the car but hanging on the door. He’s seen the two men. He’s got a gun.”
Hanging on every word, they heard three distinct gun shots, then two more. Lou said, “The perp fired first and put the guy closest to him down. The other one fired twice at Hankins. Hankins is down. The only one standing is now right over both of them. My God! He’s tapped them both in the head from close range and is now running down the parking lot toward the main entrance.”
“Lou, you and Storm try to get a good description of the car he gets into. That’s more important than getting good images. Can you see plate numbers at your range?”
Storm said, “I’m watching him through good optics. I can see plates. He’s getting into a late model blue Ford, four-door sedan. One other man in the car driving. They’re headed out the main gate to Route 544. Plate number is BBC 497 South Carolina plates.”
Kathy was relaying the information to the CIA surveillance teams as she got Storm’s report, including that shots had been fired and the bait and one attacker were down and presumed dead.
Lou, holding his position, said, “I see no evidence of any police or local security. A guy parking his new car 30 yards away saw the bodies and got his cell out. He’s still talking into it. It’s time for us to leave. You especially, before the entrances are locked down.”
Kathy didn’t need any encouragement. Her rental was already headed out the main entrance. The surveillance team, deployed along 544 west, checked in and said they had the target car. The make, color and plates matched the description.
Storm called in and said she and Lou were headed south on Route 17 to Georgetown and would see them there.
Kelly said, “Where’d Hankins get a gun?” Jack replied, “A little bit of staging on my part. I put Hankins’ loaded .38 in his lap, figuring the fact he had a gun would make it look less staged. I didn’t think he would regain consciousness that soon. Sometimes little touches work better than planned.”
Kelly said, “Will I ever think like that?”
Kathy said, “I’m just beginning to follow Jack’s thinking. Maybe in ten more years. I don’t know about you. You are already in a crash course and, I think, doing very well. Jack may not agree, but the process goes something like this. Don’t close out a plan. Always stay with it and add things that improve it. Think what the plan will look like to your enemy as it unfolds. Do not make decisions until you have to. There is no rule that early decisions are a good thing. Knowing when not to make a decision is important. You will never have enough information to make a perfect decision. People, like Jack, with great operational minds, have a feel when to make decisions irrespective of the information on hand. There now, I’m sure I’ve added immensely to your education in the Brandon School.”
“I think I’m sorry I asked.”