The Day of the Gun, Part XL
This posting features Chapter 61 of my ongoing action novel, The Day of the Gun.
From outside of Room 336, Officer Marsh screamed into his radio. “Shots fired. Repeat: Shots fired.”
Police officers from all corners of the hospital descended on the room with as much dispatch as each could muster. The guard chatting with the nurse/undercover officer had not seen Tremblor enter the room; he was momentarily surprised. Drawing his gun, he bounded to the door ahead of the others.
Captain Marsh appeared within 30 seconds. Threading his way through the crowd, he stood outside the door. Two Alabama patrolmen from the state’s well-regarded SWAT unit stood beside him. One man held a portable battering ram while his colleague hoisted an acrylic shield in front of their faces.
Scott Petty and Vincent Fazio had been waiting patiently in their Lakeland, Georgia, offices. They came on the radio frequency as soon as the dispatcher rang through. Their voices were muffled by static for a moment, but then it cleared.
“What’s going on?” Petty asked. “What’s happened?”
“Shots have been fired,” Marsh said into his portable radio as he and his men took their places. “We’re waiting for Harris to give us the word.”
“What if he can’t?” Fazio asked. He may have been thinking of Marlowe, his recently deceased partner.
“He said to wait two minutes and then knock down the door.” Marsh consulted his watch. “Forty seconds to go.”
“Were the gunshots muffled by a silencer?”
Petty’s question caught the captain off guard. “Say again?”
“You armed Harris with a service revolver,” Petty replied. “Presumably, Tremblor would use a silencer — you can even make one easily at home. If the gunshots were not muted, it means —”
Marsh saw where this inquiry was headed. “It means Harris probably fired the shots, assuming the gun was not taken from him.”
“This was a bad idea,” Marsh said as he signaled to the officer with the battering ram.
They were too late. Two more shots rang out from behind the door.