Shane had tears of pain and fear on his face as he looked up at his big foster brother.
"It hurts Jamie."
"I know. You'll be okay Shane."
He looked at Mark and saw that he seemed to be unhurt except for having been tackled, but he was crying as well, but it was the fear he felt. Jamie was trying to calm him down as he stripped his t shirt off and held it against Shane's arm. Behind him he heard the screen door of the house slam shut and looked up as Maggie and Tom came running outside. Mark cried for his mom and she gathered him in his arms as she looked at Jamie holding the t shirt against Shane's arm. Tom dropped to his knees beside Shane and pulled his cell phone out to dial 911.
"Yes I do, my son has been shot…in the left arm…237 South Harvard…it happened in the front yard…hold on a moment."
He paused a moment and looked at Jamie, "What happened Jamie?"
"We were playing catch and this car came by and two guys started shooting at us."
Tom nodded and went back to the 911 operator on the phone.
"Okay, I…oh you heard that…Which way did the car go? I didn….."
Jamie pointed up the street.
"…the car headed north on Harvard…He's awake…okay, good thank you." He hung up the phone and looked at his family, "The police and paramedics are on the way. Is everyone else alright?"
He got a nod from Jamie, and Maggie nodded as well after she checked Mark over. Shane appeared to be the only one who was hit in all the gunfire and it wasn't too bad. Jamie kept pressure on it to try and stop the bleeding. They soon heard several sirens coming their way and in no time they saw a police car, fire truck and paramedics pull up in front of the house. The paramedics jumped out, and with the assistance of a couple of the fireman to carry some of the equipment for them, they got their gurney out of the back and were soon at Shane's side lowering the gurney to the ground. One of them knelt down and took over for Jamie. Tom guided Jamie back and out of the way to stand with Maggie and Mark. He kept his arm across Jamie's chest and Jamie reached up and hugged the arm to his chest for comfort. They watched as the paramedics cut Shane's shirt off him. He was able to answer their questions and they soon had him loaded on the gurney and were wheeling him to the ambulance. They told Maggie and Tom that they he was going to be okay and they were taking him to Hemet Valley Medical Center. Maggie gave Shane a quick kiss on his forehead before they wheeled him inside. Mark hung on to her, still scared as he looked at what was going on around him. Tom glanced at the shirtless Jamie and motioned toward the house with his head.
"C'mon, Jamie, let's go inside so you can get a shirt on while I get the car keys. Then we can head over to the hospital."
The two of them went inside. Jamie rinsed his bloody hands off in the sink before grabbing a shirt from his dresser. Tom locked the door on the way out. In his hand he had Maggie's purse, which he handed to her when they neared them. As they were heading towards their car, a police sergeant came up to them. It was the same one who had been there when Jamie was shot at before.
"Excuse me folks, can I ask you a few questions about what happened?"
"Sorry officer, we really need to get to the hospital to make sure our son is okay."
"I understand. Perhaps I can meet you there and we can talk then?"
"Sure, that will be okay."
The officer nodded and they quickly piled into the car. A few minutes later they pulled into the emergency room parking lot and headed inside. Tom checked at the desk and they were escorted to a small waiting room. They were sitting there for about fifteen minutes before a nurse came into the room with a clipboard.
"Mister and Missus Wood? I'm Nancy, one of the nurses. We have some forms for you to sign. One of them is to authorize surgery on your son."
"Is Shane alright?"
"Yes, he's doing very well. He will make a full recovery. The surgery is pretty minor overall. The x-rays show the bullet is in his upper arm, but didn't do much in the way of major damage. It won't take long to get it out and repair anything."
"That's great, thank you Nancy. When can we see him?"
"We have him on his way to surgery right now and he should be ready for visitors in a couple of hours. They will have him stay at least overnight to make sure everything is okay, but the doctor will let you know more after the surgery."
Tom took the clipboard and started signing the forms as Nancy indicated where to sign. She thanked them and left the room.
A few minutes later the police officer entered the room carrying his clipboard. "Hi folks, I'm Sergeant Davis. I understand your son is going to be okay?"
"I'm very glad to hear it. Would it be possible to talk about what happened?"
"Yeah, it should be fine."
"Okay, thank you. Can you tell me what happened?"
Tom looked at Jamie.
"I didn't see anything myself. I heard what sounded like several gunshots and then squealing tires. I ran out and saw Jamie kneeling above Mark and Shane."
"Did you happen to see the car?"
"No. It was gone by the time I got outside. Jamie may have seen more."
The officer looked over at Jamie. He had remembered him from the prior incident and smiled to try and put him at ease. "How are you doing Jamie?"
"Okay sir. I'm just worried about Shane."
"Understandable. Unfortunately here we are again."
Jamie had his face screwed up looking confused as he tried to figure out what the police officer meant.
"You don't remember the last time when this happened?"
Jamie's look changed when he realized what the officer was talking about and he nodded.
"Yeah, I remember now."
"Good. Alright, now why don't you tell me what you can remember about what happened, while it is still fresh."
"It was Enrique Mendes."
"One of the guys in the car was a kid from my school that got in trouble earlier this week for threatening me. He was suspended for five days. His name is Enrique Mendes. I don't know who the other guy was that was driving, but they both shot at us. When I saw Enrique and the gun he had in his hand, I ran to Shane and Mark to get them down on the ground and out of the line of fire. I guess I wasn't quite fast enough."
Maggie smiled at Jamie and mouthed 'Thank you' while giving Mark an extra squeeze.
Tom smiled and patted him on the shoulder, "I'm proud of you Jamie. That was a very brave thing you did and you did fine. Shane is not badly hurt and he will be okay."
Jamie's eyes became moist and he nodded and smiled at Tom's words.
The officer also smiled and reached over to pat Jamie on the knee. "I agree with your Dad Jamie."
"He's my Foster Dad."
"Oh, yes, I forgot you told me that the last time. Well anyway, that was a very brave thing to do, to put their safety before your own like that. That is what a brave man does. The soldiers that get medals for bravery get it because they put the needs of others before their own. So you are sure it was this boy, Enrique Mendes."
Jamie scowled a little and nodded, "I'm certain of it. For some reason, he hasn't liked me since early on in the school year and I don't know why."
"I wish I could answer that, but it is probably for some stupid reason or he is just a bully. Did you notice anything about his clothes, the car, or anything like that?"
Jamie thought about it for a bit, trying to remember everything he could. He finally shook his head.
"I remember that they were wearing a bandana or something on their heads and I think it was a darker color, but I can't remember what color they were, sorry."
The officer made some notes on his clipboard.
"What about the car? Do you remember anything about that?"
Jamie again shook his head. "I didn't really pay attention. I only saw Enrique looking out of the back window and the driver looking from the driver window. When I saw the guns, I just turned and ran as fast as I could."
"Okay, Jamie, thanks. One final question, you said it was this other boy, Enrique. Could you pick him out of a lineup if you saw him or maybe the driver?"
"Enrique, yeah easily, the driver, I don't know."
He made some more notes and then got up. "Well I think this will help. We'll go see if this boy Enrique is in our database. If not, then we'll contact the school, they should have contact info on him. Thank you folks, I hope your son we'll be alright and once again, Jamie, good job. You probably saved the two boy's lives or at least kept them both from being badly hurt. I'm glad to see you again."
He shook hands with everyone and left the room. A few minutes later someone came in the room and escorted them to the main lobby where they could wait while Shane was in surgery. Once they were settled, Tom asked if anyone would like something to eat or drink while they waited. They all nodded and Tom headed off to find the cafeteria. Mark came over and climbed up in Jamie's lap. He hugged him around the neck and kissed his cheek.
"Thanks Jamie. You're a good big brother. I love you."
Jamie hugged him back and gave him kiss on the cheek.
"I'm glad you're alright Mark. I love you too."
Mark settled down and soon nodded off as the events caught up to him.
Maggie smiled at him, "Thank you for what you did Jamie."
"I couldn't let them get hurt. It was me that that ass….uh, sorry, jerk was shooting at and I really don't know why. I've never done or said anything to him."
"I know, unfortunately, there are people like that in this world. We can only hope that there are more and more people like you."
They stayed in those positions. Maggie sat back and waited for Tom to return. Mark remained asleep in Jamie's lap. Jamie had his arms around Mark, supporting him so he wouldn't fall.
That is what Tom came back to. He smiled when he saw them. He handed Jamie the coke he had asked for, and gave his wife her coffee while he sat down next to her and sipped on his, putting Mark's coke on the table beside him. They were silent as they waited for news. Jamie was starting to doze off when they were interrupted by the appearance of Alma Geddes and a policeman.
"Well Mister and Missus Wood. I'm sorry to hear what trouble this boy has caused you and I'm here to relieve you of this burdensome troublemaker. He never should have been placed with you where he could put your two young boys in jeopardy. Well, that's all behind us now."
All of them looked at her in shock. Mark woke up and looked at her as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.
"Come boy, put that child down before you cause him injury as well."
Tom stood up. "Now see here, Miz Geddes. What is this about?"
"Mister Wood. You would do well to not interfere. This is a matter for Child Services. This boy has been trouble since he was placed in your care. I am only following what I believe is the correct course of action. If you interfere, I may have to remove your children from your care just to be sure everything is okay in your household and they are not endangered."
Tom looked at her, barely able to control the anger this bitch was bringing to the surface. Maggie got up and laid her hand on his arm.
Jamie interrupted them, "Maggie, here take Mark. I'll go with them. Don't get in trouble for me. Mark and Shane need you right now. I'll be alright."
Maggie started to protest but Jamie looked at her and shook his head. She glared at Alma as Jamie got Mark off his lap and guided him over to his mom.
Mark looked at Alma with anger and Tom just barely had time to stop him before he kicked her in the shin. "You're a mean old lady. I hate you. Leave my big brother alone."
"What a nasty little brat. You need to instill some discipline in him. Spare the rod and spoil the child is a valid saying. Officer, take this troublemaker into custody."
"What! There is no need for that!"
Alma looked at Tom and held her index finger up. "I will decide what is and what is not necessary. If you interfere, I will have you arrested as well and have your children taken into protective custody. Do I make myself clear?"
Tom's face was red as he glared back at Alma. She stood there looking down at him in an imperious manner, a queen to a measly peasant. Maggie tightened her grip on Tom's arm and he took a breath to try to calm down.
He looked at Jamie who was being cuffed by the officer, "Don't worry Jamie, we'll get this straightened out. We know you are far from being a troublemaker."
"If I was you, I would forget about this troublemaker and make sure my own family was safe."
She gave him a look that conveyed a bit of a threat and he returned her look with a glare that would have melted a glacier, unless that glacier was anything other Alma Geddes. Jamie looked at Maggie, Tom and Mark with tear filled eyes.
Mark broke away from his parents and ran to Jamie throwing his arms around him, crying. "Leave my big brother alone."
Alma let out an exasperated sound and reached down to pry Mark's arms away from Jamie.
"Don't you dare touch my son, or I'll rip your arm off and beat you with it."
Alma looked at Maggie with shock.
"Then you had better remove your brat or I'll have all of you arrested for interfering with a government official."
Maggie glared at Alma as she moved to Mark and Jamie's side. She gently placed her hands on Mark's shoulders, but he resisted, trying to hold even tighter to Jamie with tears on his face as he looked up at Jamie.
Jamie gave him a smile, working hard to hold back in own tears. "Mark, go on with your Mom. It's okay, I'll come see you when I can."
Alma let out a snort and scowled at them.
Jamie glared at her for a moment before looking back down at Mark.
"You swear you will Jamie?"
"Yes, I swear. Now go with your Mom. It'll be alright."
Mark gave one last hug before letting his mom pull him away and hugging him to her. She and Tom both glared at Alma as she gave them a triumphant look and turned around motioning for the police officer to precede her with Jamie. She marched them out of the hospital and had the officer put Jamie in the back of his patrol car. Jamie walked with his head down letting the tears drip down his cheeks. When Alma was satisfied she gave the officer directions to the place she was taking Jamie and went to her car to lead the way.
Inside the hospital the Woods stood there holding onto each other. They were the center of attention in the waiting room and it was making them self-conscious as a doctor dressed in scrubs walked up to them. The waiting area had gotten quiet while this was all taking place and now the buzz of conversation started back up.
"Mister and Missus Woods?"
Tom nodded and the doctor smiled holding out his hand.
"Your son Shane is going to be fine. There was no major damage to repair, so he should be back to normal in a short time. We were able to easily get the bullet out and repair what damage there was. We are taking him upstairs to a pediatric room. He's still a bit out of it from the anesthesia, but once he's settled in the room, I'll have someone come down and bring you upstairs so you can see him."
"Thank you, doctor."
He nodded shook their hands and headed back to Surgery. They sat back down to wait. Mark climbed up into his dad's lap.
"Daddy, why did that policeman take Jamie away?"
"I think it's just some mix up. We'll get it all straightened out."
"Then will Jamie come back home?"
"I hope so."
"Yes, she is. I can't believe someone like that deals with children and the county lets her. She should be fired and maybe prosecuted for child abuse. I wonder how many other kids she's treated this way. We have to do something."
"But Tom, what can we do? You heard her. She threatened to take Shane and Mark away."
"I know, but there has to be something we can do for Jamie."
"I don't know…wait. Maybe there is. You remember that Mister Jackson who helped get Jamie's things for him. Maybe he can help?"
"Yeah, do you have his contact info?"
"I think so. I'll look for his card when we get home. I hope he can help Jamie."
A few minutes later a hospital volunteer came up to them and told them that she was going to bring them up to Shane's room. They got up and followed her to the elevators. When they got to Shane's room, they saw that he was still asleep. A bandage was covering his upper arm near the shoulder and he had an oxygen cannula in his nose. When they got to his bedside he roused a little bit and looked at them.
"Hi Mom, Dad."
Both of them reached down to touch him.
"Hey buddy. How are you feeling?"
"Okay, a little tired and sore."
"Well, why don't you go ahead and get some rest."
Shane absently nodded and closed his eyes. They stayed by his bedside until his breathing became deep and regular and they knew he was asleep. The nurse came in and told them that he would probably sleep until morning as they had given him some painkillers that would make him very sleepy. They nodded and sat by his side until Mark became restless and then each of them gave him a kiss goodbye on his forehead or cheek, including Mark, before leaving for home.
The police car followed Alma Geddes through the town until they pulled into the parking lot of a medium sized block shaped building. She got out and motioned for the officer to get Jamie out of the car. As Jamie was helped out of the car he looked around the building. It had two stories. The windows had a wire mesh over them. He could see a walled area at the back of the building. He could hear activity of some sort back there, but he could not see into it as the wall was too high. Alma headed to the nearby door. She glanced back and gestured for the officer to follow her with Jamie.
She walked up to the door and pressed a button. A moment later there was a buzz and she pushed the door open and held it for the officer to bring Jamie in. She let it close, catching Jamie on the arm as he was escorted through the door. He winced a little when the door hit him.
She walked up to a window. "Good afternoon Jonathan. I have a new boarder for you." She pointed at Jamie.
Jonathan glanced at him before turning back to Alma. "So why the cuffs?"
"He caused a young boy to be shot today."
"What? I did not!"
She turned to Jamie and grabbed him by the chin. "Listen boy. You speak when spoken too. This place will teach you the discipline that you sorely lack. Now stand there and keep your mouth shut. Officer, you can release him. Thank you for your assistance, you may go now."
She turned back to the window.
The cop took the cuffs off and put them away. He gave a sympathetic pat on Jamie's shoulder. Jamie glanced at him as he walked out the door.
Alma, in the meantime, had finished signing some forms. She straightened back up, "Thank you Jonathan. I'll leave this troublemaker in your hands now. I would, however, like to speak to one of my clients while I'm here, Frank Denton."
"Of course Alma, I'll have him brought to the interview room."
She looked at Jamie.
"They will brook none of your insolence here, boy. So you better listen and follow the rules."
She turned and headed deeper into the building. Jamie watched her go with barely held in anger.
"Well, let's get you processed, young man. Come over here."
He waved Jamie over to the window.
"We have some rules that must be followed. No drugs, weapons, alcohol or smoking allowed. You will obey the orders of the staff. You will be expected to attend class in our classroom and keep your studies up to date. Breakfast is at 7am, lunch is at noon and dinner is at 5pm. You will be allowed into the recreation yard from 2pm until 430pm. There is a common room with a TV for our residents to watch. We have a small library that has books that you can borrow to read. By following these rules you will get good time credit. If you break the rules, you will get demerits and will lose privileges. Do you understand these rules?"
"Yes, but why am I here? I didn't do anything?"
"Of course you didn't."
One of the staff members came up to Jamie's side.
Jonathan pointed at the man. "You will go with Mister Warner here and he will finish with your processing and show you to your room."
The man took Jamie's arm and pulled him from the window.
"But, what did I do? Why am I here?"
Jonathan just waved vaguely at him and sat back down at his desk and started working on paperwork, completely ignoring Jamie.
Jeff Warner pulled on Jamie's arm, "C'mon kid. Let's get this over with. I have other things to do besides babysit you."
Jamie was escorted to a room nearby. It looked something like a cross between a bathroom and a locker room. There was a large open tiled shower that had about six showerheads. There were also three toilets and sinks. Along one wall was a bench with several hooks above it.
"Okay young man strip and take a shower."
The man pulled a lidded cup from a small stainless steel locker in the wall.
"Yeah, and when you're done piss in this cup and set it on top of the toilet."
Jamie looked at the man, waiting for him to leave, but that man stood by the door looking at him.
"Aren't you going to leave?"
"No. It's against the rules. All new residents must be watched during in processing to make sure they are not smuggling anything illegal into the facility. Put your clothes over on the bench. C'mon we don't have all day."
Jamie flushed with embarrassment as he slowly walked over to the bench and sat down to take his shoes and socks off. He then stood up and took his t-shirt off and folded it before laying it on the bench. He hesitated before he unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans and lowered them to the floor. He picked them up and folded them over before placing them on the bench next to his t-shirt. He then glanced at the man before hooking his thumbs in the waistband of his underwear and lowering them, stepped out of them, and placed them on top of his jeans.
The man had no expression as he watched Jamie walk to the shower and turn it on. When the temperature was comfortable he began to clean up. He glanced behind him at the man who had not moved from his place from time to time. When he finished he turned around and headed over to the toilet. He picked up the cup and unscrewed the lid. He glanced at the man and began to pee in the cup. When it was three quarters full, he stopped the flow and put it on the toilet top before letting the rest go into the bowl. When he was done, he screwed the lid back on and walked over to his clothes.
He looked up and saw that the man was wearing some latex gloves and was going through Jamie's pockets. He had pulled out Jamie's wallet, cell phone and some change and put them in a plastic bag. He then dropped the jeans back onto the bench and motioned for Jamie to come over. Jamie walked slowly over to him.
The man was starting to get impatient, "C'mon kid. I told you I don't have all day."
When Jamie got near him, the man reached out and pulled him closer. He searched through Jamie's hair, combing his fingers through Jamie's hair. Then he pulled Jamie's hands away from his crotch and reached down to make sure nothing was hidden behind his balls. He then turned Jamie around and pushed on his back to make him bend over.
"Bend and spread 'em."
Thoroughly embarrassed Jamie did as he was told. When he was in position, the man roughly inserted a finger into his butt and felt around for a few seconds before pulling out.
"Okay kid, dry off and get dressed and I'll take you to your room."
He held out a towel to Jamie and while he dried himself, Jamie kept his head lowered and blinked back tears. He finished and put the towel on the bench and started getting dressed. When he was finished the man gestured for him to get up and he escorted Jamie out of the room and through a locked door that was buzzed open for him by another staff member at a desk behind the door. He continued up the stairs to the next floor. They passed the common room. There were a few boys in there watching TV. They glanced up at Jamie as he walked by. Jamie glanced at them and knew that he didn't like the looks of them.
The man continued to a room at the end of the hall, opened the door and stood aside. "This is your room. The next meal is dinner at 5pm."
Jamie went in the room and sat on the bed as the man let the door close behind him. The room was narrow. There was a desk, a chair, and a small cheap dresser. He looked out the window and he could see down into what was the recreation yard through the metal mesh. He leaned his head against the window and let the tears fall. He couldn't believe what had happened. All he did was save his foster brothers from that bastard Enrique. He hadn't done anything wrong, but he was in a prison like place. He looked at the other boys that were down below and he saw that most of them were older. There appeared to be a couple of them about his age, but he didn't like the look of any of them. They looked and acted the way Enrique and his friends acted. He was sure most of them were probably gang members. He went back over to the bed, laid down on it, and covered his eyes. He was feeling very sorry for himself. He'd lost his mom, now it looks like he'd lost his new home as well, and then what about Josh. How was he going to let Josh know what happened? They took his phone so he couldn't call anyone. Maybe his case worker would let the Wood's know where he was and he figured that there might be visiting hours. The hardest part was not being able to go to school with his friends and being with Josh. That thought caused him to roll on his side and start to cry as he curled up in a ball.
Downstairs Alma said her goodbyes and left the facility. She started making mental notes about what she needed to do to collect the brat's things from the Woods' house and put it in storage until she could sell it. Now that nosey Jackson bastard could fuck off. She also decided that she would get the Wood's foster license revoked. And if what she planned worked the way that she hoped, then she would have the Carpenter brat sent to the California Youth Authority, and while he was there she could sell off the rest of the assets and claim they were used to pay his court costs and other expenses. He would be a felon when he got out and probably out of the system by then. After that she didn't care. Alma was very happy that everything was working out for her as she made her way home. She even smiled a little as the thought of Hal Jackson having to back off.
At the Wood's house, Maggie searched through the drawers of a small desk and finally found what she was looking for. She picked up the handset and dialed Hal Jackson's number that was on the card. It rang five times before being picked up by the answering machine. She waited for the beep at the end of the recorded greeting.
"Hello Mister Jackson. This is Maggie Wood, Jamie Carpenter's foster mother. Someone shot at Jamie today and he risked his life to save my two boys. My older one was hurt, but he'll be okay. We were waiting to visit him after surgery at the hospital, when his case worker Alma Geddes came up with a police officer and had him handcuff Jamie and she took him away. She said he was a troublemaker. I hope you get this message soon and can help Jamie. I'm afraid for him. He was treated like a criminal and he's not, he's a hero for saving my boys. Please help him. Thank you. Call me as soon as you can. Bye."
Hal Jackson let himself in his apartment in Murrieta late on Saturday afternoon. He had just come back from meeting with his boss to talk about some upcoming plans that needed to be put into action. He dropped his briefcase and on the couch and the mail onto a side table. He then headed to his bedroom to get into some more comfortable clothes. After changing he grabbed a beer from the fridge, picked up the mail that he dropped on the table and went out on his balcony to sit down and enjoy the warm afternoon. One thing he had to say about California, even in the winter time, there were some pleasant spring like days from time to time and today seemed to be one of those. Back east, he would have been all bundled up in front of the fireplace he had in the living room of this apartment. He started going through the mail. A lot of it was junk as usual. There was one large manila envelope. He looked at the return address and smiled as he took out his pocket knife and slit the flap. He pulled the small packet out and read through the cover letter. He smiled at what it contained. He saw that there were pictures included with some notes attached to each. He nodded happily as he continued reading through the entire packet. When he finished he put everything back into the envelope and headed back inside to make a quick call. He walked over to the desk that was in the living room and as he went to pick up the phone to make a call he noticed the message light blinking. He pushed the button to hear the message.
"Hello Mister Jackson. This is Maggie Wood…."
He continued to listen to the message as he sat down and pulled a legal pad over to make some notes. When the message ended and listened to it again, making some more notes. When he finished listening a second time, he picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"Hello….something has happened to Jamie…I don't know. He's been arrested or something…yes, I plan to find out right now……yes, I'll keep you apprised. That Geddes person is involved…yes, I just got some information that I was waiting for…It was pretty much what I expected. Of course, I'll call you once I find out what's going on…Bye."
He went back to his room to change into a suit, but then stopped and said "Fuck it" to himself and headed back out to the living. He opened his briefcase and checked to make sure he had everything he needed in it. He closed it and grabbed his keys and cell phone and was soon in his Mustang and driving away. He decided to head to the police station to see what Jamie had been arrested for and see if he could get him out of there. Then he'd take care of the other matter. On the way he made a couple of calls. He finished the second one as he neared the police station. He pulled into the visitor lot and with his briefcase in hand he walked into the building. At the desk he asked to speak to the arresting officer for James Carpenter.
The officer at the desk nodded and asked him to have a seat. She called back and a few minutes later Sergeant Davis came out front.
"Mister Jackson. I'm Sergeant Davis. You were asking about James Carpenter?"
"Yes, thank you Sergeant Davis. I'm here to post bail for him?"
Don looked at Hal with a puzzled expression.
"I'm not sure that I follow you? Bail?"
"Yes, I was told that he was arrested."
"Arrested? Mister Jackson won't you come to the back with me, so we can clear this up."
Hal nodded and followed Davis into the back area. He had him follow him to his desk and gestured for him to have a seat.
"Okay, so what is this about Jamie being arrested? I thought you were here to talk about the shooting?"
Hal was surprised at that statement. "What shooting? Is Jamie alright?"
"Oh, you didn't know about that. Earlier today, a couple of people who I think may be members of Hemet Trece did a drive by at Jamie's foster home. One of his foster brothers received a minor wound, but Jamie and the other boy are fine. In fact, Jamie probably saved both of the younger boys' lives. He's a real good kid."
"Uh, okay. Then why did you arrest him?"
"That's what I'm confused about. I didn't arrest him. In fact, I'd like to give him a citation for his bravery."
"Wait, wait, and let's back up. I'm confused here. I got sort of a frantic, worried phone call from his foster mother Margaret Wood telling me that Jamie had been arrested by a police officer at the hospital."
"I can't think of any reason for that. He's done nothing that I'm aware of. I was the interviewing officer for this morning's incident and I talked to them at the hospital while their son was in surgery. When I left he was still there with his foster family."
Hal shook his head in disbelief and was about to light into Don, when he thought of something. He held his hand up and pulled his cell phone out. He called a number and it went right to voice mail. He was getting frustrated for a moment before looking back at his phone and searching through is contacts. He found the number he was searching for. It was answered quickly.
"Hello Missus Wood…this is Hal Jackson…yes, I did get your message…I'm at the police station and Jamie's not here…I'm talking to the officer who interviewed you folks at the hospital earlier today. Oh, I almost forgot, how is your son?…That's great news. Anyway, in your message you said that Jamie was arrested? Alma Geddes?...Yes, okay thank you…Of course, I'll let you know."
He closed the phone and looked at the Sergeant.
"Missus Wood said that Alma Geddes from Child Services, Jamie's caseworker, met up with them at the hospital with a policeman and they took Jamie out in handcuffs."
Dan shook his head, "I don't know anything about that, but I promise to look into it…"
Just then another officer came up to the Sergeant's desk.
"Sorry to interrupt Sarge, but we just got the location of Victor Mendes."
He looked at Hal who watched the exchange between the two officers.
"Mister Jackson, I'm sorry, but this is very important."
"But what about Jamie? Where is he?"
"This is about Jamie as well. I believe we've tracked down the people who shot at him this morning and we're going to go arrest them. As soon as I'm back, I'll get to the bottom of this arrest. Is there a number that I can call you?"
Hal took out one of his business cards and wrote his cell number on the back and handed it to Don who looked at it and put it in his shirt pocket. They shook hands.
"I will call you as soon as I figure out what is going on. I want to go get these assholes who shot at those kids."
"Okay, call me as soon as you can. I'll have my cell with me at all times."
Don gave him a little salute and followed the other officer out of a different door than the one to the front desk. Hal made his way out that way and nodded to the officer at the desk. He got into his car and as he pulled out he made a couple of calls. He drove back to his apartment. Inside the apartment he got his laptop out and emptied the manila envelope and its contents out. He unlocked his desk and pulled a file out of the lower drawer and opened it as well. He started going through the file, correlated what was in the file with what he had on the computer and made notes on the legal pad.
Several police cars made their way along two streets, Buena Vista and Menlo, as they neared the house that was the purported location of Victor Mendes. The property on the southeast corner was a house and another garage type building where the Trece's worked on their cars and other things. The police were pretty sure that this was the location of one of the Hemet Trece hangouts. The two buildings were surrounded by a dirt lot. Their plan was to come from three directions including across the dirt lot toward the back of the house from the northeast side of the house. When the officers were in place, Sergeant Davis gave the order and the cars came in from all directions. Two at the corner of Menlo and Buena Vista, two from the south side on Buena Vista to pull up in front of the large garage and two over the curb and across the back side of the lot and stopping on the backside of the buildings.
As the cars came up, word must have been relayed to the Trece's because the police cars were answered with gunfire. The Trece's saw no choice because they had recently received a shipment of cocaine from their contacts south of the border. The police officers took cover behind their squad cars, or in the case of Don, his SUV.
Don got on the loudspeaker, "Lay down your weapons and come out with your hands up. The place is surrounded."
There was more gunfire in answer. Don turned off the loudspeaker as he keyed his mic and called in the SWAT team. He had hoped that it wouldn't come to this, but there was no choice now. They came barreling up in their armored car, the members hanging onto the back and sides of the car. When it stopped they hopped off and took position. Two of them had M79 grenade launchers. When they stopped, the armored car was hit with gunfire. The men with the grenade launchers loaded them and waited for the order. Their Lieutenant nodded and the team members fired at the house and kept their heads down while they launched tear gas canisters through the front window of the house and into the partially open door of the garage building. They reloaded and fired once again. One of the two grenadiers slung the grenade launcher and pulled his MP5 to join the group storming the house. The other reloaded his launcher and fired into the garage again.
"Go, go, go!"
The ten man group split up, five to the house, one of them holding a ram. The other five headed to the garage. They stacked up near the openings. A couple of the men threw CS gas grenades through the partly open door of the garage. The man with the Ram came to the front door of the house, the others stacked up to either side of him. Two of them threw flashbangs through the window and when they went off the man at the door rammed it, breaking the lock and slamming the door open. He dropped the ram and pulled his pistol out and held it in front of him as the team piled in behind him.
"POLICE OFFICERS! DROP YOU GUNS AND HIT THE FLOOR."
Those outside could hear yelling and the sound of things breaking inside the house. At the garage they threw flashbangs in and entered yelling the same thing. Soon, several stumbling gang members were being pulled or dragged out of the garage where they were forced to lay down on the ground. Two of the SWAT officers stood over them while another put plastic cuffs on them.
At the house, another group of gangbangers were being escorted out of the house and put on the ground. After all of them were cuffed, they were helped to sit up. Their faces were covered in tears and they kept trying to blink the effects away. A couple of the officers started emptying bottles of water on their faces to try to wash away some of the effects of the tear and CS gas.
"Hey, look what I found hiding under a bed."
The others looked up and laughed as they saw one of the SWAT officers escorting a young gang member. What they were laughing at was the large wet spot in the front of his pants where he had pissed himself. He was crying from the gas and from being scared.
The Sergeant noticed who it was and walked over to take custody of him. "Enrique Mendes, you are under arrest for the attempted murder of James Carpenter, Shane Wood and Mark Wood. Lucky for you, you're not a better shot and only one of them was slightly wounded."
One of the SWAT officers came over and flushed Enrique's face with some water.
Don scanned the others in the group and then walked over to the group by the garage and smiled when he sighted his quarry. "Well, well, Mister Victor Mendes. I'm glad you were here. Victor, you are also under arrest for the attempted murder of James Carpenter, Shane Wood and Mark Wood, and Victor, I think this makes you a three time loser. What a nice way to end a Saturday, don't you think."
Victor just scowled at him as the Sergeant and another officer escorted them over to one of the patrol cars. They leaned them both against the car and searched them. Once they were finished, Don read them their rights and they were put in the back of the patrol cars, Victor in one and Enrique in another.
Enrique was still crying, partly from the tear gas, but also because he was scared. It had all been fun and exciting when he and his brother had fired at Jamie and the two other boys. He had seen them all go down and in his mind he was saying 'yeah, now he was a full fledged member of the Treces'. He proved he was a Carnal. He was no longer a baby gangster. He had heard the cop say attempted murder, which meant they were alive. He was a typical bully. Everything was great when things were going his way, but not so good when things turned against him, and then he showed he was still a scared little boy.
The police officers continued to search the grounds. Inside the house, they recovered several guns, drugs, and bundles of cash. In the garage there were more guns, plus the large cocaine shipment. The cocaine had a street value of somewhere around $10,000,000. A paddy wagon was called and the gangbangers were put inside and taken down to the station. The officers left behind started cataloguing everything they could find, because the property and everything in it, like the cars, were going to be confiscated. Soon there were several tow trucks that came in and started hooking up the cars that were found on the property and towing them to the impound yard.
The Sergeant stayed long enough to make sure everything was done correctly. When he got back to the station, he wrote his report up and turned it into the Watch Captain, who congratulated him on the bust. Don went home afterwards, completely forgetting about looking into what had happened to Jamie.