“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifteen

Jack and Dan entered the front door to a small, unattended lobby. Jack said, “Let’s try the elevator first.” They stepped into the waiting elevator car and Jack pushed the button for the top floor. “Our shooter probably took the elevator to his shooting hide. Much faster than the stairs and he would have been carrying his rifle and maybe some other things like binoculars and a small bag of sand for a stable shooting rest. Also, he may have been carrying a toolbox for cover. No one stops a man carrying a toolbox in a building open to the public.”

The elevator stopped at the 7th floor. When the door opened they saw they were in plain view to a floor full of people working in cubicles. Jack stepped out and a woman standing outside her cubicle said, “May I help you?”

Jack said, “We’re with the police.” Dan stepped out, introduced both of them and showed his badge.

The woman looked around hesitantly. Jack said, “We need access to the roof, can you direct us?”

The woman relaxed and said, “My supervisor is out. Can you come back?”

Dan, still holding his badge, said, “No ma’am. Police business does not work like that. We are investigating a crime and need to get up on the roof. Now please show us the way!”

The woman backed up a step and stammered, “Follow me.”

The roof entrance was on the other side of room. The door was locked with a lever on the inside. She opened the door and Dan and Jack went up a short flight of stairs to the roof. Dan looked back and said, “Thank you, ma’am. You don’t need to come up here.”

When the door closed, Jack said, “Well, our shooter did not use this rooftop. But it is a good vantage point to look around.”

The rooftop provided a view of the 7-Eleven across Forbes but the access ruled it out as a shooting site. Dan said, “The next building is a full story taller. Do we go there?”

“You got it. The process of elimination. Think like a sniper. We’re done here, let’s go.”

The next building’s elevator opened on the top floor in a deserted hallway opposite a door leading to a short flight of stairs to the roof. “This looks much better,” Jack nodded. At the top of the stairs, they were confronted with a locked door. Jack tried the door and bent down to examine the key entrance in the dead bolt lock. After a minute he said, “I believe this lock has been repeatedly picked. The picker was good but you can see tell-tale small scratches.”

“Want me to go look for someone with a key?”

“No. Just give me a minute.” Jack pulled a few picks from his pocket and had the door open in 20 seconds.

“A man of many skills. You’ve been running with bad company,” Dan said, not smiling.

“No. My wife was with the CIA for some years and she taught me some of her skills.”

Jack walked out on the roof and over to the side facing Forbes Street. “This is perfect. Let me look around a little more. I am almost sure this is the sniper’s shooting spot.”

Jack looked around, assumed a shooting position behind the low wall bordering the roof and said, “In fact, I know he was here and took his shot from this exact spot.”

“Jack, I know you’re a good, very good, detective but where is the evidence?”

“Look right here,” Jack said, pointing to the top of the low wall.

“Jack, I don’t see anything.”

“Focus on the top of the ledge. See those particles of sand? They’re from the sand bag the shooter used to steady his rifle. On the roof where he was kneeling is a slight indentation made by his left knee. And more sand particles. I think his bag was worn and leaking sand.

“Let’s get a crime scene team up here and enough detectives to question people in this building and other buildings near here. Make sure the crime scene team bags the sand and photographs the knee print. Given the temperature of the roof at the time of shooting, the forensic guys may be able to estimate a weight and height from his shooting position. He also had to case the place just like we did. He may even have found himself in that building where the elevator opens into all those cubicles on the 7th floor. He also had to have a car or truck on the street near here. If my hunch is right it, would be a truck to fit with his working man’s uniform. He would also have been carrying a toolbox large enough for a broken down .22 Hornet. He may have gone into the 7-Eleven where John was shot to check things out. We need to look at all camera footage from the nearby buildings for the period one-hour before the shooting and ten minutes after. Could be any age and male or female. I know you will be told everything has been done. I think you can see it hasn’t been. Captain Shorer will back you. We need witnesses that can give a police artist enough to get a likeness of the shooter.”

“Okay. I am on it.”

“Let me know if you get anything.” Jack turned and walked back toward the access door.

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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

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