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| Category: || Mystery and Crime Fiction |
Posted:|| December 2, 2021 Views: 13|
Chapter 29 of the book Slovo Ne Vorobey
The detectives declare case closed.
"SNV - Twenty-Nine"
Killers, storms, and twisted time in Washington.
Previously in "Slovo ne vorobey":
Two killers are on a spree in the Washington, D.C. area. Freelance writer Christian Becker and WaPo reporter Sasha Copeland are on the case, not realizing the danger they're truely facing.
"Hey," a voice said.
Daring to take his eyes off his Auburn Lovely, Lucas Stoller glanced right to see a police officer approaching. With a few yards to go, he quickened his pace, his gun ready to be revealed.
"Hey!" the officer said loudly. "Stop!"
He reached out to grab his arm.
Lucas Stoller raised his arm and swung back, striking the officer in the face. His opponent stumbled backwards but didn't fall. He managed to right himself and reached out again.
* * *
Hearing a scuffle, Jodi Brooks turned to see a Capital Police officer struggle to grab ... the homeless man from earlier. She couldn't believe this. Had he followed them? What was he going to do?
Jodi couldn't move. She could see other uniformed officers and black-suited Secret Service agents hurrying towards the altercation. The first officer had managed to grab the homeless man now and they were struggling. It seemed to be an even match, with the homeless man managing to keep the officer from reaching for his holstered gun on his belt.
Someone grabbed Jodi's shoulder and she jumped. She turned to see another Capital Police officer standing beside her.
"Get inside," the woman barked, pointing towards the steps and the doors beyond. "Now!"
Jodi's legs managed to cooperate. She grabbed her bag and hurried up the steps, willing herself not to stumble. At the top, she glanced back to see more officers and agents struggling with the homeless man, who had now pulled out a knife.
Not wanting to see blood, Jodi grabbed the door and yanked it open. Shrieking alarms filled her ears as she rushed into the building.
Another officer was standing there. He grabbed the ID card hanging around her neck and studied it for a second.
"Go in there," he said, pointing to a nearby door. "Stay in there until someone comes and gets you."
Jodi could hear him speaking into his radio as she hurried to obey.
The room she'd been sent to was small and bland. A single desk with no occupant stood in the middle, two metal filing cabinets and a bookshelf half-full of random books standing behind it. There were no windows and a single florescent light in the center of the ceiling gave the room an eerie glow. Still, the homeless man wasn't here, so that was an improvement.
Jodi shut the door behind her. The noise of the shrieking alarm lessened. Dropping her bag, she sank down onto the floor. Breathing heavily, she started to cry.
* * *
It took about thirty seconds and six personnel to subdue and secure the strange, disheveled man who'd wandered onto the grounds of the United States Capital. That was enough time to both cause panic and get most Representatives and Senators locked down in secure locations within the building.
When Lieutenant Ivan Erdai arrived at the scene of the melee, one of his officers was patting down the subject, now lying face-down on the pavement with his wrists cuffed behind his back. The lieutenant was told a loaded Colt 1911 pistol was found in the suspect's jacket, along with the knife he'd used to try to fight back against the officers.
"Log them," Lieutenant Erdai instructed. "Cuff his legs before you get him up."
Until he knew everything about this disheveled man and why he'd come onto the grounds of the U.S. Capital, he would not take any chances.
"Greene's getting shackles," an officer reported, still out of breath.
Lieutenant Erdai couldn't believe this. He hadn't learned about the President's plan to speak at the Capital until this morning, before he'd even finished his first cup of coffee. He'd hoped that the last-minute scheduling would prevent the lunatics from trying anything and he'd have a quiet shift, relatively speaking. It'd been a nice dream.
Another officer arrived with the shackles and the subject's legs were secured. He wasn't resisting anymore. Still, no chances would be taken.
"Okay," Lieutenant Erdai said. "Get him up."
An officer and a Secret Service agent grabbed the subject beneath his underarms and hauled him to his feet. There was no ceremony in their process. Once upright, they held him both as a matter of security and to steady him so he wouldn't faceplant back onto the ground.
Lieutenant Erdai stood still as the subject's eyes met his own. Was it possible he was actually seeing this? They needed to confirm it quick. The news media were probably already on their way.
The subject frowned at the lieutenant, seeming to size him up.
" You'll wish you had killed me," the disheveled subject said.
* * *
Driving across the Delaware Memorial Bridge, Matthew, Christian, and Sasha all paid closer attention to the radio when the breaking news was announced.
"We are getting reports an arrest was made at the United States Capital this morning," the news anchor was saying. "Capital Police Officers and Secret Service agents, preparing for an emergency address by President Biden later this morning in the wake of Superstorm Jackson's devastating impact on the Mid-Atlantic region, struggled with and subdued an armed suspect who'd wandered onto the grounds."
Sasha again silently lamented missing a good story.
"Details remain sketchy," the anchor continued, "but eyewitnesses are reporting the suspect, now in custody, resembles wanted fugitive Lucas James Stoller, identified earlier this week as the prime suspect in the recent KA-BAR Ripper spree of murders. Both the Capital Police and Washington Metropolitan Police officials offer no comment on these speculations ..."
Now Sasha really wanted to be back in Washington. Fumbling around, she found her phone. Using the hands-free mode on his own phone, Matthew was already calling a friend in Congresswoman Dodson's office.
* * *
By this point in the case, Joseph could admit he'd dreamed about being the one to put the cuffs on the Mid-Atlantic Slayer and the KA-BAR Ripper. Now, that was likely to remain a dream.
Nevertheless, he didn't hesitate to head to George Washington University Hospital with most of the taskforce and the D.C. Metro Police's SWAT team. No one was taking any chances this time.
Though he could have faced a long federal prison stretch for his actions at the Capital, the federal government decided to forgo pressing charges and would instead transfer custody to D.C. authorities. Nine consecutive life sentences without parole sounded a lot better than twenty years with time off if he managed to behave himself.
While his fingerprints were taken at the Capital Police station on D Street, Lucas Stoller complained of a severe headache. Officers guarding him reported seeing blue and black bruises around his head, though Stoller refused to answer anyone's questions about these. Consulting with FBI ASAC Lloyd Summers, the lieutenant in charge of securing the suspect had him brought to the hospital for tests ... after the fingerprint match confirmed who he had in custody.
Meanwhile, the crime lab, having not sustained too much damage from the storm, reported some interesting developments. Striations found on bullets fired from the revolver found on Route 295 were inconsistent with the bullets used to kill the Mid-Atlantic Slayer's seventeen victims as well as Officer Keith Regis and Detective Mike Nichols. The gun found on that highway, while having surely been used to fire on Officers Jesperson and Reed, was not the murder weapon. The lab double-checked to make sure, but there was no possibility of an error, even though the discovered gun was also a SIG SAUER six-shot revolver.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had better news. The revolver, though at least thirty years old, was well-maintained. Its serial number was easy to read with the naked eye. A quick check with Virginia authorities revealed the SIG SAUER was issued to Christopher Stoller by the Fairfax County Police department after he graduated from the academy. Further digging revealed Stoller bought an identical SIG SAUER six-shot revolver from a private vender in Maryland in 1988, using his parents address in Prince Georges County. Murder might have not been the initial motive for this purchase, but everyone felt sure it was the weapon used by the Mid-Atlantic Slayer. They were also sure this gun was now lost in the Anacostia River alongside Christopher Stoller.
The D.C. lab did theorize the injuries Sasha sustained were consistent with having been made by the cane found with the gun out on that highway. Joseph supposed they'd never know for sure. Both the FBI and ATF intended to run further tests on all the evidence, but these results were satisfying enough. Plus, Joseph and the other detectives could put Lucas James Stoller away for the rest of his life.
It seemed the hospital didn't advertise who was being treated within their walls. Nor did the administration forewarn the staff and patients of the arrival of over a dozen detectives and agents and six armed SWAT officers. People scrambled to get out of the way as the group traversed the corridors. Knowing the attention their presence created, they intended to leave as soon as possible ... at least before the press arrived.
Lucas Stoller had been moved to a private room on the second floor. Three Capital Police Officers stood inside the room, armed with batons, tazors, and mace while wearing body armor, helmets, and face shields. Five additional personnel were stationed in the hallway and the adjacent rooms on either side had been cleared. Doctors and nurses making rounds in this corridor made it a point to come and go as quickly as they could.
When the taskforce arrived outside Lucas Stoller's room, the SWAT team entered first to take over security of the prisoner. Meanwhile, Joseph, Russell, Hadrian, and Daniel spoke with a Dr. Kimberly Monroe, the physician placed in charge of their suspect's care.
"He has a mild concussion," the doctor reported. "Nur logical tests show no long-term impact on cognitive function and we treated his headache with Tylenol. He should be observed for the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours."
Joseph nodded. This wouldn't be a problem for the infirmary staff at the District of Columbia Jail. Lucas Stoller could continue his recovery in a single cell.
One of the Capital Police officers handed Hadrian a milk crate full of small plastic bags, each baring its own Chain of Custody card.
"We've escorted the weapons he was carrying directly to your lab," the officer added as Hadrian took the crate.
The SWAT Team captain reemerged in the hallway to announce everything was ready.
"Let's do it," Joseph said as Daniel escorted Dr. Monroe away.
Another SWAT officer emerged from the room, followed by Lucas James Stoller. The killer was cuffed and shackled for his trip. Two more SWAT officers escorted him while the rest of the team brought up the rear.
Joseph and Hadrian studied the man they'd spent weeks looking for, encountering nine dead college students in the process. He glowered back at them, his mouth a straight, thin line beneath a pair of brown eyes and pointed nose. The detectives could see the bruises on his shaved head.
"Rough night?" Hadrian asked.
Lucas Stoller bared his gritted teeth. The SWAT officers on either side of him tightened their grips.
"Doesn't matter," Joseph said. "Lucas James Stoller. You're under arrest for murder."
He wouldn't give this killer the satisfaction of listing the names of the people he'd slaughtered.
"You have the right to remain silent," he continued. "Anything you say can and may be used against you in a court of law ..."
He might not have put the cuffs on this perp himself, but this still felt pretty good.
* * *
The mission to pick up Lucas Stoller and transport him to the D.C. Central Jail was kept on a need-to-know basis. Chief Ehle planned to hold a press conference to announce the arrest in a couple hours at the Henry J. Daly Building. The e-mail from Sergeant Emmett Newsome in the department's Office of Communications was sent out that morning. Still, about half a dozen reporters made it to the hospital to document the killer's escorted exit.
Propped on her crutches on the sidewalk across from a seldom-used door, Sasha watched as the KA-BAR Ripper, now deprived of his signature weapon, came out. Next to her, Kassim Nazir snapped photo after photo. Though newspapers no longer hired full-time photographers as much as they used to, the Washington Post still had a few on staff. Nancy and Eric made sure Kassim was available to meet Sasha at the hospital in time to document this. they understood the value such photos would have after she'd confirmed the man arrested at the U.S. Capital was indeed Lucas Stoller, the KA-BAR Ripper.
Sasha studied the killer as he made the short outdoor trek from the door to a police cruiser, one of four in a convoy waiting by the curb. He looked so ... ordinary. She'd been to court a few times to conduct follow-up pieces and it always struck her how the people accused of horrific crimes no longer fit the majesty of their deeds then, especially now that they were cuffed and surrounded by officers intending to prevent further harm. Lucas Stoller now looked more like the homeless man people at the Capital initially believed him to be.
She spotted Joseph and Hadrian emerge from the building behind the cuffed man, along other detectives. Hadrian was carrying a milk crate full of small plastic bags.
As they walked to an unmarked cruiser parked at the end of the convoy, both men looked over and briefly met her eyes. Sasha held their gazes for a few seconds before looking down at her iPad, studying her three-line headline.
KA-BAR Ripper in Police Custody
Mid-Atlantic Slayer Likely Drowned
The Victims Are Remembered
Sasha did the math. Twenty-eight people died at the hands of these two men. Hundreds more, including herself and Julianna, were attacked and terrorized or just impacted by their actions. "The Victims Are Remembered" was the least she could say.
Thinking about Julianna, Sasha wondered how many, like Christian, were out there, unaware of their connection to the violent crime spree. As far as anyone knew, Julianna's rape never happened. Other attacks might likewise have never been documented or connected to Christopher Stoller. She again wondered if there were any more offspring's than the two she knew about.
* * *
They sat in the SUV in the hospital parking lot, around the corner and out of sight of the action. Matthew was fine with that. He'd had enough of being involved with serial killers. He was ready to go back to his passion of serving politicians.
"No comment," he warned Christian, who was seated in the SUV's passenger seat.
"I wasn't going to say anything," Christian said, though he couldn't withhold a chuckle.
They'd indulged Sasha's insistence to come here so she could document the arrest. They were sure it wouldn't take long and began to wonder what was keeping her.
"It's not like they're putting on a parade for this guy," Matthew remarked.
Christian checked his phone again, the voice-over feature telling him it was 11:04. They still needed to get home to drop off their things. Then, he had to have lunch with his mother. It sounded important to her that they did this.
* * *
With Lucas Stoller in custody, the taskforce packed up their makeshift headquarters. While the search for Christopher Stoller continued, their work was done. The case was solved. No further investigation required. It was now just a matter of securing all the evidence for the prosecutor's use in future legal proceedings.
The bulletin board was empty again, as it had been when the taskforce first moved in. The victims' photos were in their respective file boxes with other materials and evidence from their individual cases. The photos of Christopher Stoller, which bore the large, bold X, and the one of Lucas James Stoller, now with "CAPTURED" scrawled across the top, were also packed away. With one dead and the other in custody, no one wanted to look at those faces anymore.
"It's been fun," Daniel said, stacking another box of documents onto a handcart.
"Yeah," Hadrian said. "Let's do it again, but without all the dead bodies.
"Baltimore's not that far away," Russell pointed out, clearing his temporary desk nearby. "You guys come up some time, we'll show you where the best beer and crab cakes can be found. Hvordan det?"
At his own temporary desk, Joseph smiled. That sounded like a good idea.
|The book continues with SNV - Thirty. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
Cast of Characters:
Christian Becker: a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C., with his fiancee, Sasha.
Sasha Copeland: a Washington Post reporter living in Washington D.C. with her fiancee, Christian.
Lydon: Christian's guide dog.
Detective Joseph Conway: homicide detective in Washington, D.C., assigned to the current serial killer case. Partnered with Hadrian Hasselle.
Detective Hadrian Hasselle: homicide detective in Washington, D.C., assigned to the current serial killer case. Partnered with Joseph Conway
Matthew Timmons: Cristian's friend in graduate school.
Julianna Becker: Christian's mother. Surviving rape victim of Christopher Stoller.
Chief Marisa Ehle: Washington D.C. Police Chief.
ASAC Lloyd Summers: an FBI agent in charge of a new interstate taskforce formed to catch two linked serial killers.
Detective Russell Davis: Baltimore City police detective assigned to the FBI taskforce. Partner of Daniel Stark.
Detective Daniel Stark: Baltimore City police detective assigned to the FBI taskforce. Partner of Russell Davis.
Lucas James Stoller: known as The KA-BAR Ripper. A serial rapist and killer active in Washington, D.C., targeting college students. Known alias: Duncan Ericson.
Christopher Stoller: Known as The Mid-Atlantic Slayer. A serial rapist and killer active in the Washington, D.C., area in the 1980s and 1990s.
The killers' victims: only prominant in the chapters featuring their deaths. Some might be mentioned in passing later in the novel.
Feedback, especially suggestions about additions/subtractions/revisions are always welcome. Enjoy!
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