The Candy Shop

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Trick Malone wasn’t as helpful as Peters and Rocco had hoped. The only thing he confirmed was that Lucas was indeed the one who put the hit out on his own son, Tony Coronado. They still didn’t know why. The FBI confirmed they had undercover agents in the Coronado family but for obvious reasons wouldn’t share the identity of those officers.

“Putting a hit out on your own kid, that’s cold,” Peters shivered as they exited the penitentiary and climbed into their rental car. Rocco surmised it would be less expensive to rent a vehicle than cab it everywhere. It was rented under an alias that Peters and his hacking skills made certain could not be traced back to either of them.

They parked the rental car a couple of blocks down from the station and walked to the precinct, instantly aware upon arriving that something terrible had happened. Several of the officers were teary-eyed, others enraged and the Captain was on a mission to tear somebody a new one. “What’s going on?” Peters asked one of the officers at the front desk.

“Officer down,” she said quietly and then broke into sobs. Those were words no officer wanted to hear.

“Who?” Rocco asked.

“Downing,” the Captain gritted, having come down the hall and into the front area without Rocco noticing. “I want everyone in the meeting room in five,” he ordered. “That includes you.” He pointed at Rocco and then turned and huffed down the hall.

“Downing. Who’d wanna kill Downing, man? He was like the easiest-going guy around,” Peters muttered.

Once they had all gathered in the meeting room, Captain Jameson began his debriefing. First, the facts. Downing was shot with a high-powered rifle in the forehead. Two more shots were fired, one lodging in the side of a nearby dumpster. The other bullet hit the cab driver in the neck, causing him to crash into the side of the building.

“Do we have any idea who the shooter is? Any motive behind the attack?” One officer with clenched teeth blurted. He had served on the force with Downing for the past twenty years and there was no doubt in Rocco’s mind he’d be one of the first seeking revenge.

Captain Jameson shook his head. “No. Not at this time.” He walked across the room and hit the light switch so the lights in the front of the room went out. Then he pulled up the satellite surveillance feed on a projector screen that lowered from the ceiling. “We know Downing received a phone call from a woman and then left, presumably to meet her.”

“Who is the woman?” Someone yelled from the back.

“We’re currently running facial ID recognition from the satellite feed and fingerprints from those found in both Downing’s vehicle and the back seat of the cab, but results are inconclusive as of yet.” Captain Jameson stepped away from the screen and played the satellite surveillance feed. Rocco’s heart skipped a beat as he watched Kira get out of the cab and approach Downing. He watched as Downing took out his wallet and approached the cab, and then saw him take a bullet in the head. His mouth fell open when moments later Kira jumped into the squad car and squealed out of the parking lot. He couldn’t believe his eyes. What was she doing there? Why had she left the hotel? Rocco glanced at Peters, whose mouth was hanging wide open and his eyes were bulging from their sockets.

“What time did this happen?” Rocco blurted.

“9:27am,” Captain Jameson replied.

Rocco shook his head. That was only about thirty minutes after he had called Kira and she had told him everything was fine. His jaw tightened in anger. Now, a good officer was down and God only knew where Kira ended up.

“The good news is that we have located Downing’s vehicle on the corner of Pennsylvania and Highland Avenue and are conducting a house-to-house search in that area for the woman,” Captain Jameson explained. “I’d like to put some extra manpower on this one, so raise your hand if you’re available. We don’t have the funds for overtime pay, boys, so any extra work we do, we do it for justice and we do it for Downing.” Every hand in the room flew upward and Rocco leapt to his feet.

“Captain Jameson, sir, I’d like to request that Peters and I be assigned to help with the search,” Rocco blurted.

“I thought you were already under-staffed and overworked with this serial case,” the Captain chided.

“Yes, but this is personal, sir,” Rocco rebutted. The very moment Captain Jameson gave him the okay, he and Peters raced from the meeting room, out the front doors and straight to their rental car.

“What the hell is going on, man?” Peters uttered breathlessly. “What the hell was she doing there?”

Rocco started up the ignition and sped into traffic. “I don’t know but that’s what we need to find out. We’re stopping at the hotel to grab the computer equipment and then I’m going to need you to put those super-hero hacking skills to good use.”

“Right on,” Peters said. “Right on.”

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