Simon Templeton snaps off his gloves, tosses them in a red medical waste bag set up just outside the door, and says to the Forensics team, “Two bodies in the second floor bedroom. Top of the stairs, first door on the left. Murder weapon is in the male’s right hand. Beretta 9mm, from the looks of it. Female has two rounds in the chest and the male one, also in the chest.”
His investigations partner, Kolin Raynes, follows him outside. “Why would he do that? Kill her, then kill himself. And why a chest shot? Why not in the head? Yeah, I know, I know, I heard the divorce was getting pretty nasty, but it seems to me he was the one making it nasty. God, I’ll miss hearing her at MECC. I heard once that she was in line for Eva Rosen’s job when she retires.”
MECC is the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center, responsible for coordinating emergency calls throughout all of the suburbs in the Twin Cities area. Eva has been working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher for over forty years, half of that time in a mentor capacity for all trainees.
Grinning, Simon says, “I don’t believe Eva will ever give up her post. Even when she’s ninety, she’ll still be taking 9-1-1 calls.” His cell rings. “Great. The boss.” He brings the cell up, plugging the other ear with his thumb. “Yes, sir. Yes, murder-suicide, just like we thought. What was that, sir? Gary worked for Dope?”
“You’re kidding,” says Kolin.
Dope is the nickname for the Minneapolis PD’s Narcotic Enforcement Unit, housed in the same building as their department: Violent Crime Unit. Kolin had the unpleasant experience of working with an infamous Dope sergeant Jim Brandt—AKA Dope Jim—six months back when his daughter Claudia was kidnapped by the serial killer Marie Holter.
AKA The Video Slayer.
Simon nods. “Yes, sir, we’ll contact them. Not sure how much they’ll tell us. I’ll keep you informed.” He disconnects, then rubs his ears.
“Is your hearing ever going to be back to normal? I mean, I’ve been to a few rock concerts in my day, and I still have near-perfect hearing.”
During Claudia’s rescue, Simon was forced to shoot his way out of his car which had plunged into a river, causing much damage to his hearing. He’s currently doctoring at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester—the result of a second opinion when the first doctor he consulted said nothing could be done and wanted to fit him for a hearing aid—and has seen tremendous improvement.
They walk out to the car. “Captain said Gary worked for Dope,” says Simon. “Been working for them at least a year.”
“Why would the PD promote a drunk like that?”
“Kolin, Gary was good at his job. You know that.”
“Of course, but after his seventh or eighth DUI, you’d think the department would strip his license.”
Simon sighs. “Gary was two years away from putting in his twenty. He’s not the first cop to get arrested for drinking and driving. Nor the last. Certain cops just have skills that aren’t easily replaced. And when that’s the case, the higher-ups have a tendency to look the other way. It’s not right, but that’s just the way it is.”
“We talk with someone from Dope. Just in case this isn’t a murder-suicide.”
“You and I both know this is a murder-suicide. Hell, the world knows it is.”
“Just need to cover the bases,” says Simon. “Boss’s orders.”
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