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Authors: Gary Hastings

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BOOK: FORGOTTEN
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“Good afternoon, Captain. I’m Maggie Parker with the United States Secret Service and this is Chief of Detectives Patrick O’Connor of the NYPD.”

The captain responded, showing some irritation.

“So, are you two the ones who started this mess? The Feds are always starting something the real police have to finish.”

“Captain, I’m not going to respond to your insult, but this black Charger was following us and I attempted a car stop and he fled. I would appreciate it if you would inform me of the circumstances that have occurred here, or I’ll be forced to call your superiors.”

“Okay, I was out of line. Please don’t cause me any grief. Our troopers were behind the Charger when he took the exit. A third trooper was at the bottom of the ramp. The suspect just pulled into the grass and came out shooting. Our guys returned fire and he’s dead.”

“Are your troopers safe?” Maggie asked.

“Yes. They weren’t hit. This guy had an exotic weapon, a Beretta 92F, with a silencer. He must have been some kind of hit man.”

“Wow! Do we know his name?”

“Not yet, but my investigators will want to talk to you. Do you have any idea who would want to kill you?”

“Not a clue, but government agents can always be a target.”

“That’s probably true, but why are you in New Jersey?”

“We were on the way to DC working on an investigation.”

“Do you think it could have something to do with the case?”

“I really doubt it.”

Pat knew he had absolutely no NYPD jurisdiction in New Jersey. He allowed Maggie to do all the talking. Initially, he thought the state police captain was a jerk, but changed his mind and agreed he was asking the right kind of questions. Pat and Maggie walked over to the body with the captain. The suspect was about 50 years old wearing a black turtle-neck and jeans. He was white and had a slight graying at the temples of his jet black hair. He was shot several times in the chest and once in the neck. The silenced Beretta was still on the ground beside him. Pat did not recognize him, nor did Maggie.

Several unmarked cars pulled up on the scene, and Maggie recognized them as agents from the Trenton Field Office of the Secret Service. She immediately approached them.

“Hey, guys. I appreciate the help.”

The supervisory agent, Paul Kelly, responded. “No problem, boss. What in the hell happened?”

“This guy was following us. We confronted him and he took off. The state police ended it right here. He’s DOA.”

“So I gathered. Have you notified DC, Maggie?”

“No.  I haven’t had a chance.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll make the notifications.”

“Thanks, Paul, and I’d like for you to meet Pat O’Connor. He’s a close friend and is the Chief of Detectives for the NYPD.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, sir.  I’ve seen you many times on television.”

Pat smiled and shook hands, thanking them for their help. Maggie told Paul Kelly her plans regarding the investigation. “I’m going to ask Chuck Carter from my office to liaison with this investigation, Paul. If I’m the target, it more than likely originated in New York, and Chuck will be all over this.”

“Well, there goes the neighborhood, but Chuck will be welcomed.”

“Thanks, Paul. We’ll stay in touch.”

Pat and Maggie were interviewed separately about the incident and in just over an hour, they were back on the road.

“Pat, I’ve never seen you so quiet around cops.”

“They’re not real cops. They’re troopers. They spend most of their time chasing taillights and writing speeding tickets. They occasionally get in the mix of something like this. Don’t get me wrong. They did a good job and the New Jersey State Police has an impressive group of criminal investigators. I just know when I have to be an observer.”

“I understand, but you’re cross-sworn federally and have exactly the same nation-wide authority I have.” Maggie insisted.

“I know, but I like to save that for special occasions as a trump card.”

“I need to make some more notifications. I’m going to get Chuck Carter involved in this.”

“Your intelligence guy?”

“Yep.”

“I like that guy.” 

Maggie called Agent Carter and asked him to respond to New Jersey and liaison with the New Jersey State Police investigation. Carter was the all-American boy, who wheeled and dealed in baseball tickets and was well-liked by everyone. He concentrated on protective intelligence, but was often used in other cases because of his ability to get along with almost anyone. He had helped Pat in another investigation and quickly earned his respect. He had gone away with a few complimentary Yankees tickets from Pat’s desk drawer.

As they headed south toward Washington, Maggie continued thinking about who would be trying to kill her.

“You know, Pat, I’ve always been ready to take a bullet for the President or any other protectee and have never worried about it. I just don’t know why this guy would want to kill me.”

“He could be a nut case who is anti-government. He could have zeroed in on the government issued Suburban, or he may be focusing on you for some other reason. I must
admit the silenced weapon is a little frightening. It makes me think it was a serious professional threat.”

“Great! That sure makes me feel worse.”

“You handled yourself well today, Maggie. You used your training and immediately took control and it saved our lives. Continue to rely on your instincts and keep your guard up. You’ll outsmart anyone who comes after you.”

“I appreciate your confidence, Pat. Inside, I guess I have some doubts.”

“Just trust your gut and rely on your training. We’ll see what the investigation turns up.”

“I wish you were investigating it.”

“I’ve already sent the tag information back to Angie Wilson in the office, and they’re checking on the car. It looks like it was a rental.”

“You’re always the cop, aren’t you?”

“I know how to do these things the right way.”

“Yes, Sweetheart, you most certainly do.” 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 13

 

 

Monday, January 31 - Day 13

Capital Hotel - 700 H Street

Washington, DC

2030 Hours

 

P
at and Maggie arrived at the Capital Hotel around 2030 hours. Maggie had reserved two rooms from the rooms regularly blocked out for the Secret Service. The Capital Hotel was only about a block and a half from Secret Service Headquarters on H Street. They checked into the hotel and received rooms 420 and 422. The rooms were adjoining, which was always a plus when you were traveling with your significant other.

Pat and Maggie dressed down and decided to go to the lobby restaurant for dinner. Pat ordered a New York strip steak and Maggie decided on a salad.

“You even order food about New York, Pat.” Maggie joked.

“Funny, but restaurant filets are usually too small for my appetite and the strip is a safer bet.”

“I know. I was just teasing. It’s been quite a day hasn’t it?”

“It has, and I’m a little surprised we haven’t heard anything else.”

“When Chuck Carter gets there, we’ll get some details.”

“I’m sure we will. Paul Kelly seems like a nice guy.”

“He worked for me in New York before he got bumped up to supervisor. I trust him, but like most of the supervisors, he’s very competitive and ambitious about moving up the career ladder. This sometimes can impact good judgment, but Paul was always an honest agent with me.”

“That’s good.”

Their meals came, and they ate pretty quickly. They shared a piece of New York Cheesecake, which also brought about some light teasing from Maggie. They walked back to their rooms and briefly shared a kiss at the door. It was almost 2200 hours.

“I’m sure I’ll get a lot of questions tomorrow at headquarters about today’s adventure, Pat. I want to take a hot bath and turn in.”

“Okay, Gorgeous. Deadbolt your door and I’ll unlock the door between our rooms, just in case you need something.”

“That’s a good idea, I’ll do the same.  Let’s catch breakfast in the morning before we go over to headquarters.”

“That sounds great. Goodnight, Maggie.”

Pat settled in his room, after unlocking the adjoining room door. As usual, he placed his revolvers beside the bed and plugged in the chargers for all his electronic gadgets. Pat double-checked the deadbolts and propped himself up and opened the files regarding Forrest
Butelli’s death. Things had been so bizarre today he had almost forgotten why they were in Washington.

Pat had read through the files completely and made a few notes. He was getting ready to turn out the light when he heard a soft knock at the door.

“Come in.”

The door between the two rooms opened. Maggie walked in wearing a big fluffy white hotel robe. She had her Sig Sauer P229 .357 Sig in her hand.

“Please don’t shoot. I surrender.” Pat joked.

“Don’t worry.”

Maggie walked over and sat on the side of the bed. She placed her weapon on the opposite night stand from Pat’s.

“This is bothering me more than it should, Pat. I’m a little shaken.”

“That’s normal after what happened today, Maggie.”

“It doesn’t seem to be bothering you.”

“I’ve been exposed to a lot more of this stuff than you have. A big-city cop is a lot like a garbage collector. We live in the streets and see all the bad stuff. We get shot at and are often threatened. With my years on the job, I’ve seen more blood and guts than a slaughter house janitor. It’s very dangerous at times, but I’ve gotten used to it.”

“Probably true for you, but I’m worried.”

“In your job, Maggie, you worry about what could happen. In this case, you’re worrying about what did happen, and I’m sure it feels a little different. It messes with your mind because you have to realize you could be targeted as an individual and not just as a Secret Service Agent working the line.”

“I guess I’m still a little shaken. I want to be tough but I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

Pat put his paperwork back in his briefcase, pulled the covers down and responded. “Why don’t you just crawl in, Gorgeous?”

Maggie stood up and let the robe fall to the floor. Pat cut the light off as she slid between the sheets.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 14

 

 

Tuesday, February 1 - Day 14

United States Secret Service Headquarters - 950 H Street

Washington, DC

0945 Hours

 

P
at and Maggie arrived at Secret Service Headquarters at 0945. After enjoying breakfast in the hotel, they had walked the block and a half to the plain, nine-story, unmarked building. The winter air was briskly cold and windy, which made the walk seem longer. Once inside the lobby, you could see the bullet-resistant glass and the magnetometers revealing this was not an ordinary building. Maggie used her identification to gain entrance Pat showed his credentials and was given a visitor’s badge to wear.

Maggie escorted Pat to a conference room on the third floor, where Dr. Cooper was waiting. He stood up when they entered the conference room.

“Agent Parker, it’s good to see you.”

“Yes, it is, Dr. Cooper, I would like you to meet a very dear friend and colleague of mine. This is Patrick O’Connor, the Chief of Detectives of the New York City Police Department.”

“It’s a pleasure, Chief. You’re held in high regard by the Secret Service.”

“The feeling is mutual, Dr. Cooper. Has Maggie explained my case to you?”

“Yes, in general terms, but I’d like more details.”

Maggie interrupted as she walked toward the door. “Gentlemen, I’ll leave you to get down to business. I have some other business here at headquarters to attend to while you discuss the case. If you need anything, please ask the receptionist.”

They both thanked Maggie. Pat knew she had to meet with an Assistant Director of the Secret Service to discuss yesterday’s incident. Pat and Dr. Cooper sat down at the table where Dr. Cooper started the discussion. “First of all, Chief, we must understand that the investigation of suicide isn’t an exact science. People kill themselves for all kinds of reasons, but there are usually tell-tale, signs which point the investigator toward an investigative conclusion the death was self-inflicted. I’m sure you know and practice the concept that suicides should be worked as homicides, until the fact that a homicide occurred can’t be proven. That means the investigator should proceed with full forensic processing and have an autopsy performed.”

“I’m sorry to say that in this case, Doctor, there were a lot of investigative shortcuts taken. The detectives concluded very quickly this was a suicide, and actually accepted it on its face. The family was shocked by the death and protested, but in the aftermath of 9/11 in New York, the case just died on the shelf.”

BOOK: FORGOTTEN
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