POLICE STORY – Chapter One

Chapter 1 – Rookies on Patrol

Constable Jack Peters quickly ducked down behind his Nissan 4×4 patrol van as the three heavily armed men exited the Vincent Park Shopping Complex. The trio walked out onto the upper level of the parking lot. Crouching Peters edged his way towards the cab of the police van. Opening the passenger’s door he reached inside for the radio. Suddenly the sound of automatic gunfire shattered the daily hum of the shopping centre. The gunfire reverberated around the built up parking lot sending people running in all directions. Hitting the tarmac Constable Peters heard the sound of glass shattering and metal punching through metal as the 7.62mm Warsaw rounds peppered the patrol van. Constable Peters’ police training had just saved his life.
*
Walking out the MacDonald’s Constable Williams, carrying burgers and fries, was alerted to the sound of automatic gunfire. Quickly he scanned the busy road left then right trying to determine where the gunfire was coming from, he knew it had been close. Looking up he saw the big blue, red and white sign for the Vincent Park parking lot.
Instantly he broke out in a cold sweat. ‘S***! Jack ’, was his only thought as he dropped the food tray. Drawing his side-arm, he sprinted for the parking lot. Entering the parking lot Williams made for the small cashiers hut. Poking his head around the corner Williams could see the gun battle taking place in the car park. His partner, Jack, was pinned down behind the police van while bystanders ran in all directions, screaming and ducking behind cars, as they tried to stay clear of the flying bullets. Williams quickly summed up the situation, Jack was in deep s***, as he was out gunned by the three AK47’s. The gun fire all seemed one-sided. Williams also noted that the gunmen seemed very familiar with the military procedure of fire and move. A tactic that was employed when one wanted to advance and out flank a position. Soon they would be in line with Jack who was tucked in behind the patrol van. Suddenly a bystander, a young boy jumped up from behind a red car and started running away from the gunfire. This startled the gunman as he turned and fired. The young boy was launched onto the bonnet of a white beamer. Williams watched in horror as the boy’s body slid to the ground leaving a bloody smear behind. Williams did not need to see the hidden faces behind the black balaclavas to know the language they were shouting in, so taking aim he stepped out from behind the cashiers hut. Using the closest parked car as cover he shouted “Drop you weapons” in Xhosa.
Two of the armed suspects were too busy to notice or hear Williams warning. The armed suspect that had just shot the young bystander now turned towards Williams’ position. Bringing his AK47 to bear on Williams he opened fire. Williams was lucky the man’s aim was slightly off as 7.62mm Warsaw bullets zinged all around him. ‘F*** this’ thought Williams returning fire. The report of the Z88’s seemed small compared the AKs yet it kicked slightly in Williams’ powerful grip. Rapid-firing the pistol Williams sent four 9mm rounds in quick succession. The armed man stumbled as the first round caught him high on the thigh, ripping through his dark blue jeans the bullet lodged in his thigh. The second and third rounds punched into his chest leaving two holes in his shirt. The last bullet was the killer shot, catching him high, in the neck. Dropping to his knees the man tried invain to stem the flow of blood. With his eyes rolled up in his head he fell forward onto the tarmac unmoving, blood pooling under his head.
*
Constable Jack Peters tucked himself in behind the front wheel of the 4×4 van. He was not normally one to pray but on this occasion, he found himself halfway through ‘Our Father’ when he heard the distinct report of a 9mm. Opening his eyes he looked across from his position behind the van, he was just in time to see one of the suspects going down, his partner Daniel Williams standing behind a car, 9mm in hand. Seizing the moment Jack rolled out from behind the police van. Coming up on one knee he picked a target, firing twice. Both the rounds hit their mark as the suspect was flung backwards. The remaining armed suspect looked to be in two minds as he ducked behind a banged up blue Ford Escort. Both constable knew what was going through his mind, should he shoot his way out or just surrender?
The armed suspect popped his head up to take a quick look around. Both policemen had him covered. Shooting his way out was not an option. Just then a young woman walked out of the shopping centre and straight into the arms of the armed suspect. It was obvious she had not heard the shooting or paid any attention to the commotion as her iPod was firmly plugged into her ears. She had been in a world of her own. The armed man turned, grabbing her, he dragged her to in front of him. She was now his human shield. From somewhere off to the side a car skidded to a stop.
Constable Williams noticed the white Toyota Camry; it was the car that had just arrived in the parking lot. His attention now fully focused on the armed man and his hostage, watched as the armed man seemed to be pulling the girl towards the waiting car. Williams could see a man behind the wheel. Jack, his pistol out followed the guy’s movements. Seeing that he was making for the Camry he leaned into the cab of the police van. Popping down the seat’s backrest, he grabbed the compact R6 assault rifle. Williams could now see his partner hauling out the heavy artillery. Jack would need to make sure he had a clean shot. Williams stepped out from behind the bullet riddled car and called out to the armed man.
“Give it up!” shouted the constable in Xhosa
“Hey you fokking pig stay there” shouted the man in his accented English.
“Okay, okay, just stay calm. Please man just let the girl go” called Williams.
The girl stood in silence, too shocked to say anything. Standing in front of the man, the AK pressed into her back, she lost control of herself. The horror finally set in as she wet her pants, the wee pooling around her feet. Constable Williams could see the terror in the girl’s eyes. He was worried she might do something rash and ending up with a bullet in her. Williams took a step closer to the man. The driver of the white Camry thinking his friend was not going to make it to the car made the mistake of getting out the car. Using it for cover he off loaded a burst from a Scorpion machine pistol. The 7.65mm-short machine-pistol jumped around in the driver’s untrained hands, bullets ricocheted off the tarmac in Williams’ general direction. The gun-fire distracted the balaclava clad man just enough as he turned to see what his partner was firing at. Losing his grip on the girl, she fell to the ground. Jack waiting patiently found his opening. Popping off a single round from the R6 he had nestled against his shoulder. The R6 gave the mildest of kicks, as the bullet entered the head of the balaclava clad robber. The force caused his head to erupt. The nippy 5.56mm round punched through his cranium exiting the back and eventually lodged into the white Camry. Thanks to the balaclava most of the gore was contained with only a light spray of blood splattering the dazed sitting girl. Williams took that opportunity and fired two rounds at the Camry, both hitting the body work, just above the wheel arch.
The driver, seeing his accomplice go down quickly got behind the wheel as Jack fired a short burst into the back of the Camry. Slamming the car into first gear he car took off. Peters with the R6 carefully checked his background before firing a second short burst into the back of the Camry. The back window shattered along this the left side break and indicator lights. Then the car was roaring out of the parking lot.
Williams ran over to check on the boy that had been shot. He was dead, his back a bloody mess. Jack moved around the police car to check on the two downed suspects. Williams then moved to the girl who was sitting and crying hysterically. Making sure both were not moving Peters was quick on the radio, calling in the shot-out. He asked radio control for an all-points bulletin to be put out for the white Camry. He also requested that an ambulance and coroner be sent to the scene. Constable Williams half carried the shocked girl over to the bullet riddled police van. Grabbing a silver heat blanket out the small first aid kit they carried he wrapped it around her allowing her to sit in the passenger seat.
“Officers” shouted a little bald man standing off to the right of the crime scene.
“Yes” answered Constable Peters slightly annoyed.
“It appears that man is still alive” he said.
“S***” swore Peters as he quickly moved behind cover. The R6 was still in his hands. The suspect he had fired on seemed to be coming round. “Freeze!” called out Jack looking down the barrel of the R6 at the injured suspect. “Daniel, cuff him.”
Constable Daniel Williams quickly cuffed the man. Seeing the two holes in his chest he lifted the man’s tracksuit top. Williams was surprised to see the guy wearing a military issued armoured vest. The vest had stopped the two 9mm rounds but he knew the guy had some very bruised even busted ribs. “S*** Jack, these f*****s are wearing Kevlar, military issue.”
‘These boys were very well equipped’ said Jack. “They were defiantly not your normal bank robbers”
Next to the dead suspect that Williams had shot was a large black duffle bag. Inside was a s*** load of money, all denominations.
*.
Soon the Vincent Park parking lot was a hive of activity as patrol cars and coroner vans rolled up from all directions. A police helicopter soon hovered overhead. Captain Benjamin Lane was on the radio instructing the helicopter pilot. He wanted to try and find the whereabouts of the white Toyota Camry. Looking up, “separate them” he ordered his junior officer a Lieutenant named Gregory Michaels.
“You two”, indicated Michaels, “I want you Williams over there and you Peters next to that squad car.” The two constables were separated as each shooting incident needed to be investigated.
*
“So what happened here” quizzed Captain. Lane, addressing Constable Jack Peters first.
“Sir we pulled into the parking lot around lunchtime. Constable Williams then headed over to McDonalds to grab some lunch while I went to draw some cash. As I exited the vehicle I looked up and noticed the three guys exited the centre. They walked out into the parking lot. I immediately knew they were trouble as I could see one was trying hard to conceal something. They turned just as I was about to call out to them. Seeing me they drew their weapons. I only just managed to hit the dirt before they opened up on me Captain. Before I knew what was happening they had me pinned behind the van. Sir I thought I was a dead man. At that point, suspect one tuned and fire at Constable Williams who had entered from over there” pointed Peters. “He moved from behind that cashiers hut. He pointed to where Williams had been standing behind a bullet riddle car. Then suspect one seeing Williams opened fire on him. That’s when Williams dropped him” said Jack as he continued with his account of the facts to Captain Lane.
After Captain Lane finished talking to Constable Peters he moved across to Constable Williams. Williams’ accounts of the events were almost identical to Peters. The only difference was with Williams story as his had the suspect firing once at him and once at the bystander. Captain Lane suspected the difference in the stories was due to Peters been pinned down behind his van. He had not seen the bystander gunned down and judged both bursts of gunfire to be aimed at Williams. .If Internal Affairs wanted to question his boys further they could catch up with them back at Fleet Street. For now he was happy that the shooting had been just and by the book. Calling both constables over he dismissed them for the day, telling them to relax and report back to Fleet Street in the morning.
*
“Hell of a home coming,” said Daniel as he and Jack left the scene in an unmarked police car.
“You can say that again,” grinned the younger of the two. Jack had just celebrated his nineteenth birthday. “Hey thanks for bailing me out back there bro” said Jack with a smile on his face, “I thought I was a goner for sure”.
“Just returning the favour bro, if not for you I would still be trying to pass Grade 11.”
*
With the adrenalin still coursing through his body constable Daniel Williams could not sit still. This was his first shooting and for some reason he could not seem to relax. As it was only 14:30 and the wintery sun still shinning strongly Williams decided to head for Nahoon Beach. The waves had not been bad and surfing always mellowed him out. Jack on the other hand felt indifferent he had always been around guns and hunting so he just headed home to catch up with the TV series Lost. Both friends had decided to meet-up later that evening at the Highlander Bar, Blue Bend Hotel for a few celebratory drinks, celebrating Jack’s nineteenth birthday.
Daniel pulled into the parking lot at Nahoon Reef. The waves were three to four feet and breaking to the right. The waves were actually small for this legendary surf spot, but Daniel did not care, they would do. He could see a few surfers making good use of the sunny day. Tammy Roberts for one was out cutting up the waves. She was in the local provincial side, ranked third. If the stories in Zigzag were to be believed she would soon be making it onto the ASP woman’s world tour. Sitting in his car Daniel watched as she pulled a sweet aerial before the wave closed out. Slowly Daniel got out of his parked Toyota Corolla RSI 1.8 popping the boot he grabbed his wetsuit. His board a Spider design called the Shaun Tomson Tri Fin was strapped on to the roof-racks. His board was his pride and joy. The board its self was a redesign of what Shaun Tomson used way back in the 70’s.
Getting into his wetsuit Daniel headed out into the surf. This was without a doubt the best way to wind-down after such a stressful incident. Paddling out he wondered what life as a cop had-in store for him and his best friend Jack. They had both come close to dying today and he wondered not for the first time if he had made the right choice.
*
Duck-diving several swells the heavily muscled Daniel manoeuvred his board behind the breakers. Eighteen year old Tammy Roberts with her bronze tanned skin and sun bleached blonde hair sat astride her board, watching the horizon, waiting for the next perfect set to roll in.
“Hey,” she greeted Williams casually. Wearing only a floral blue bikini the teen seemed impervious to the cool winter waters.
“Hey,” nodded Daniel as he paddled up along side her. Surfing was something he had taken up quiet late in life. It had actually been during his last year at school, the previous December. Being the natural athlete he was, Daniel had taken to surfing quickly and was soon quite an accomplished board rider. He would never go pro but he was able to pull off some sweet moves.
“Say, aren’t you Daniel Williams?” queried Tammy with a frown. Williams nodded. “I remember you, from when Clifton beat Selborne at the big rugby festival last year. I even saw you score a try. So where have you been for the last year as I have not seen you around.”
“I’ve been away,” smiled the young constable taken back by the fact that she knew who he was and had actually remembered his try in what turned out to be one of only a few memorable wins Clifton enjoyed over Selborne.
The two caught a few sets before hooking up behind the breakers again. They quickly struck up a casual conversation. It was not before they realised they had missed several decent sets because of there chatting. Daniel had found out Tammy was doing a post matric at Clarendon. During which time he entertained her with stories of his training days at the Police Training College in Pretoria. She then revealed that her uncle, Keith Roberts, was a cop, a senior detective working out of Fleet Street.
“Hey listen I got to bail,” said Tammy glancing at her Oakley sponsored watch. “Its 16:30, and still have homework to do. Maybe I’ll see you around?”
“For sure,” nodded the big guy a wide smile creasing his face.
The two surfers then caught the next wave into the beach. Daniel offered her a lift home, but her dad was already waiting for her in his Pajero.
“Who was that?” asked her dad when she climbed into the Pajero.
“His just a guy dad” she answered.
With a smile Daniel watched as the Pajero left the parking lot. Packing up he headed home for a quick shower then it was off to the Highlander.
*
The next day Fleet Street Station was a hive of activity when Constables Peters and Williams arrived the next morning. The news filtering down from the detectives briefing room was that the white Camry had been discovered. The Camry had been abandoned somewhere in the M-15 zone of Mdantsane near the Fort Jackson industrial park. The industrial park, which had been dormant for almost fifteen years, was now seeing a resurgence in life as more and more overseas investors brought their factories to South Africa.
A patrol car from the Mdantsane police station spotted the abandoned vehicle shortly after 06:00 that morning. The forensic team were already on route, but the investigating detectives were not holding their breath. The car had been dumped out in the open all night so they did not expect to find too much evidence.
“They won’t find anything now” said Daniel to Jack. “That car will have been looted s***less. There will be hundreds of finger prints.”
“It’s a pity we let such a dangerous f*****r get away” said Jack.
“Morning constables” offered a very serious looking Afrikaans speaking man in his late forties. He was dressed in a dark brown suit and not a uniform. The suit had seen better days. With him was an equally austere looking man.
“You must be IA” stated Daniel.
“Ja gentlemen I am, my name is Warrant, Johannes Skiupers and this is Sergeant, Guy van Zyl” he said.
“I am Constable Daniel Williams and this is Constable Jack Peters.”
“Williams you are with me in here” stated Skiupers, his English not the best.
“That would make me with you” said Jack to Guy. Guy showed not hint of emotion. He had a scary hardness to him.
“This is going to be fun” mumbled John.
*
Both constables spent the morning answered questions, questions that they had already answered if IA had bothered to read there statements. around lunchtime the two IA officers decided to wrap up their respective interrogation meetings. Letting the two constables out for lunch the two IA officers then sat and discussed each others notes as well as each constable’s recollection of events.
“It is just as Captain Lane had said” commented Guy van Zyl.
“Ja, Guy these stories are almost the same. I don’t think they had plenty of time to rehearse so I say this is a clean shooting” declared the Warrant officer.
“So what you think?” asked John as they made there way back to the interview rooms.
“I think we’re okay” answered Daniel.
“In here” called Skiurpers.
“Good news manne, we have ruled the shooting lawful. It was a good clean shoot, well done” said the chief investigating officer Warrant Johannes Skiupers.
“We did not doubt it for a minute” said Peters so cocksure of himself.
Headline news in the Daily Dispatch read – Shooting at Vincent Park. The picture that accompanied the headline on the front page was that of Captain Benjamin Lane. Lane had decided to keep the two officers out of the limelight. Lane knew that there was always the possibility of a retaliation shooting.
***

This post was submitted by Rowan.


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