L.A.'S FINEST

CHAPTER 1

"Officer Down"

Downtown Los Angeles.

"Sushi again? Again, Bobby?" Officer Tom Foley sighed as he and his partner Roberto Perez stepped from their black and white. "You know there's nothin' I can eat here. I can't stand this raw stuff. Ya know, there's a Carl's Jr. a few blocks over."

Foley and Perez had this same argument just about every other shift. It had become something of a tradition between the two veteran officers.

"Refresh my memory, Tom," Perez said as he opened the glass door of the sushi joint. "Who won the coin toss this morning?"

The coin toss. The ritual at the start of every watch that Foley himself had initiated when they had begun riding together two years ago. The coin toss determined which officer would drive that shift, and then consequently pick where they would eat lunch.

Foley's head dropped.

"You won the toss," he sighed. "You're the only Mexican cop I've ever ridden with who prefers raw fish to a burrito."

"Is that a racial joke? This is the new LAPD, Tommy Boy. That kind of talk won't be tolerated any-"

The glass of the open door shattered. Perez dropped to the pavement as blood sprayed from his neck.

Patrons of the restaurant as well as bystanders on the street screamed and scattered as another shot rang out, punching a hole in the patrol car's rear windshield.

Foley dragged his partner through the open door of the restaurant and keyed the mic on his chest.

"1A33! Officers need help! Officer down! Shots fired at the police! Wilshire and Figueroa! I need back up and an R.A. unit now!"

"1A33, roger," the dispatcher replied before three tones sounded over Central Division's radio frequency. "Central units, any Central units and 1-Adam-12, officers need help, Wilshire and Figueroa. 1A33 is taking gunfire with an officer down. Standby for additional. 1-Adam-12, handle Code-3."

Several blocks away, Officer Jim Reed pulled the mic from its holder as his partner Pete Malloy gunned the patrol car's engine.

"1-Adam-12, roger," Reed replied, switching on the patrol car's lights and siren.

Meanwhile, several shots struck the pavement near the front door of the sushi bar. Another round hit the trunk of the patrol car.

"Bobby!" Foley shouted, snatching a cloth napkin from a nearby table. He pressed it to the wound on his partner's neck. "Hang on, buddy! You're gonna be okay!"

The customers watched in horror.

"Oh my God! Oh my God!" a woman shrieked.

"Everybody get down!" Foley shouted. "Get to the back! Stay away from the windows!"

Another shot hit the door jamb, splintering off pieces of plaster.

The cook rushed from around the counter and helped Foley pull Perez away from the front door.

"I help! I help!" he said, pressing his apron against Perez's wound. He wrapped his free arm across the officer's chest and slumped against the wall.

Foley peered out of the doorway again with his weapon at his side. He couldn't tell where the hell the shots were coming from.

XXXXXX

LAPD Headquarters.

Detective Sergeant Rick Hunter stood at attention in full uniform before the disciplinary panel comprised of several commanding officers.

A Deputy Chief shuffled the papers in his hands and adjusted the microphone before him.

"Sergeant Hunter, I again urge you to take the advice of your union lawyer and accept this formal reprimand."

"With all due respect, Chief," Hunter replied. "I can't do that."

Sitting on a bench behind him also in uniform, his partner Dee Dee McCall rolled her eyes. She'd worked with him for years but was still surprised at how stubborn and downright hardheaded her partner could be.

"All right, then. Do you have anything to say for yourself before the board issues its decision?" asked the Deputy Chief.

"I believe that my actions on the night of the 24th were justified. I had no choice but to exercise deadly force when the 187 suspect aimed his vehicle at my fellow officers. Had I not shot and killed the suspect, I have no doubt in my mind that he would have injured or killed two of this city's police officers. I'm grateful that the officers involved testified to the fact."

"Sergeant Hunter, you do understand that the LAPD is facing another lawsuit over this incident, don't you?" asked a Captain, sitting to the left of the Deputy Chief.

"The LAPD faces a lawsuit if an officer helps an old lady cross the street, Captain. Everyone's gunning for us. The bad guys, the lawyers, the so called community activists. Maybe if this department's leadership and the Mayor showed some backbone and stood up to every piss ant lawsuit that came down the chute, we might not be in such of a-"

"That's enough, Sergeant!" the Deputy Chief snapped. "You've had your say. This board is prepared to rule."

Hunter set his jaw and prepared for the worst.

"Sergeant Hunter, it is the ruling of this board, that in addition to your unpaid suspension, which has already been served, you are to be demoted from the rank of Detective Sergeant to Detective-2. Furthermore, you are to be reassigned from Metropolitan Division to Central Division Homicide. You can thank the impassioned pleas of your partner, Detective McCall. Without her testimony to sway this panel's decision, you'd most likely be working Valley Traffic Bureau. This hearing is adjourned."

He banged a gavel and the brass left the room. Hunter stepped out into the hall, listening to the admonishments of his union provided lawyer.

The lawyer eventually threw up his hands and continued on down the hall alone, shaking his head. Hunter lifted his gaze to see his partner leaning against the wall, arms folded.

"Hunter, what the hell was that?"

She stepped in front of him. At 6'6", he towered over her.

"It was a load of crap and you know it," he replied.

"All you had to do was sign that reprimand and you would've stayed in METRO where you belong. Now you're going back to Central to work bangers shooting bangers and babies left in dumpsters."

"Somebody's gotta work those cases."

She rested her hands on her hips and glared up at him.

"Look, Dee Dee," he sighed. "I didn't do anything wrong and we both know it. I just couldn't sign that paper. I'll be okay. I've still got my badge. And you're movin' up to Robbery-Homicide. Our partnership's ending, anyway."

She shook her head and sighed in exasperation, looking off down the hall with a smirk.

"You're a pain in the ass, Rick Hunter. You know that? "

He smiled and hitched a thumb over his belt buckle.

"You know you wouldn't want me any other way. Thanks for having my back, partner."

Several officers ran past.

"What's goin' on?" asked McCall.

"Officer down," one of the officers called over his shoulder. "Looks like a sniper."

Hunter and McCall looked at each other before rushing after the others.

XXXXXX

Two unmarked, black Chevy Suburbans sat in the parking lot behind Metro Division's new headquarters building with their doors open.

Sergeant Dan "Hondo" Harrleson slung his M-4A1 over one shoulder and unfolded a map on the hood of a patrol car.

The four members of his SWAT element stood behind him.

"Okay. This is your typical Rampart Division crack house, boys and girl," he said, standing up. "It'll be a dynamic entry through the front…"

"Hondo, are we seriously gonna take this house a man short?" asked Officer Jim Street, tucking his fritz helmet under an arm. "I mean, we've gotta find a permanent replacement for T.J. sometime."

"Jimmy's right, Sarge," Deacon Kaye spoke up, shouldering his 12 gauge shotgun. "We need another man to fill out our unit."

"Or woman," Kris Sanchez added, propping a boot on the Suburban's bumper.

"Oh Please," laughed Michael Boxer. "No more chicks in SWAT. One is enough."

Sanchez smiled.

"You wanna throw down, white boy?" she called, raising her fists.

"Okay," Hondo laughed, slipping on his shades. "We'll have a replacement comin' in next shift. We won't be alone today. We've got back up from B-Platoon and Rampart patrol. Now can we get back to business?"

"Patrol? Come on, Hondo," Deacon cocked his head. "They can't hang with us. You're either SWAT or you're not. You told us that."

"70-David from 114," echoed their radios. "Per R-Commander, you are to disregard your current assignment and respond to Wilshire and Figueroa for an officers need help call. 1A33 is taking gunfire from a possible sniper with one officer down at the scene."

"You heard her, kids," Hondo gathered up the map. "Mount up!"

XXXXXX

1-Adam-12 skidded around the corner and came to a stop in the street behind an abandoned pickup truck. Sirens filled the air.

Reed emerged from the passenger seat with his service weapon drawn as Malloy stepped from the driver's side and pulled his Glock.

The side mirror of a nearby Volkswagen exploded and the two officers crouched behind their doors for cover.

"Pete! Up there!" Reed shouted as he nodded towards the fourth story window of an office building. "One O'clock!"

Malloy squinted and saw what appeared to be a long rifle poking out of the window.

"1-Adam-12," Malloy keyed his shoulder mic. "advise units that the sniper appears to be in the office building on the southwest corner of Figueroa, fourth floor."

The passenger door of a white minivan that was parked in front of the pickup swung open. A woman peered out, holding a young girl in her arms.

"No!" Reed shouted. "Stay down! Stay in the car!"

She pushed the little girl out of the car and pointed for her to run into the store across the street.

The little girl dashed away from the car and through the front door of the shop where the customers pulled her away from the windows.

The woman crawled out and crouched behind the open car door.

"No! Damn it, lady!" Malloy shouted. "Stay in the car!"

The woman peered over the door then glanced at the storefront. Reed felt his stomach tighten. He knew what was about to happen.

"Pete, she's gonna go for it!" he growled through clenched teeth.

The woman darted into the open street. A shot pierced the air and she collapsed to the pavement amid muffled screams from inside the store.

The woman lay on the pavement, bleeding from her right leg.

"I'm goin' after her, partner", Reed said as he holstered his gun.

"I can't cover you, Jim," Malloy replied. "If I fire at that building…"

"I know. Bystanders,", Reed sighed. "I'm goin' anyway, Pete."

He dashed from behind the car and kept his head low as he raced the fifteen feet to the downed woman.

"Oh God, I don't wanna die!" the woman screamed.

Reed slipped his hands under her arms.

"That makes two of us, lady."

He dragged her across the street, leaving a long smear of blood as bullets struck the pavement near them.

A customer held the shop's door open for them. Reed stumbled backwards as he dragged the woman inside.

"My leg!" the woman cried. "Oh God! My leg!"

"You'll be okay," Reed said as he drew his pistol and headed back for the door. He stared at the frightened customers inside. "I need somebody to find some cloth and apply pressure to her wound."

An older, well dressed woman slipped off her scarf and crouched beside the victim whose daughter ran into her arms.

Hunter and McCall screeched to a stop in the intersection, just up from the sniper's location. They stepped from the unmarked silver sedan and crouched behind their doors.

"There! Second window from the right," Hunter called before firing off two shots from his .45.

The rifle barrel disappeared from the window.

"1A33 from 1-Adam-12," Malloy called into his radio. "How's Perez?"

"Not good, Pete!" Officer Foley's voice crackled over the radio. "We gotta get 'im outta here!"

"Hang on, Tommy!" Malloy replied. "Just hang on! I'm comin' for ya!"

He slid in behind the wheel of the patrol car and hunched over. He was going to have to drive further into the line of fire to help evacuate the fallen officer.

The SWAT units with flashing red and blue window lights screamed around the corner behind him.

Hondo and his team piled out of the two trucks in full tactical gear, assault weapons at the ready.

Hondo and Deacon jogged up beside the patrol car.

"Where's the injured officer, Pete?" asked Hondo.

"Up there, Sarge," said Malloy. "The sushi bar."

Deacon opened one of the patrol car's rear doors and placed his rifle inside.

"I'll go Hondo."

"Okay. In and out, you two," said Hondo. "Don't waste any time."

Deacon climbed into the backseat, keeping the door propped open with his foot. Hondo and Sanchez took cover behind the front of a parked car, while Street and Boxer took up positions in the doorway of an adjoining restaurant, MP5's raised.

Malloy gunned the engine. The black and white sped forward, causing the open passenger door to slam shut. He swerved between the minivan and pickup truck, driving up onto the sidewalk.

Deacon and Malloy rushed into the restaurant. Deacon crouched in the doorway and trained his gun at the sniper's location as Foley and Malloy lifted Perez and carried him towards the patrol car.

Suddenly shots came at them from ground level near the base of the building. Deacon returned fire.

"Damn it! There's two of em!" Hunter shouted, firing off several shots at the office building's parking garage where the second set of shots had come from.

"R-125!" McCall called into the mic clipped to her chest. "We have a second shooter in the parking garage on Wilshire, ground floor of the building!"

Foley ducked into the patrol car's back seat, cradling his partner's lifeless body on top of him. Deacon climbed into the backseat with him, the rear door ajar.

Malloy slid back in behind the wheel and threw the patrol car into reverse. The tires squealed as he sped backwards down the street.

He maneuvered past the SWAT trucks and made a reverse turn onto the cross street, then sped forward out of the line of fire, just as an LAFD ambulance and fire engine approached.

Hunter and McCall stood at the corner of the building across the street from the suspect's location.

A male in a black jacket fired a handgun at them. The two detectives returned fire and the man disappeared into the garage again.

A minute later, a green Range Rover sped out of the garage and east down Wilshire towards them with two men inside.

Hunter fired at the vehicle blowing out two of the side windows. He ran into the street and fired another shot at the truck as it raced up Figueroa, shattering the rear window.

"Let's go!" he shouted, dashing back to their car.

"R-125, suspects are headed northbound Figueroa towards 6th," McCall reported, climbing into their sedan. "Green late model Range Rover. Suspects are two male whites. Show us in pursuit."

"Come on, Street!" called Hondo as he ran back to their black Suburban. Street slid in behind the wheel as Hondo rode shotgun.

They raced up the street, siren screaming. Street sped down the sidewalk on the right side of Wilshire, bypassing the abandoned cars. The truck bounced off of the curb as it screeched around the corner and followed Hunter and McCall's unit up Figueroa.

The suspect's vehicle sped east down 6th and then north up Flower Street. Hunter kept pace, careening around the corner after them.

"We've got some help," Hunter said, eyeing the Suburban in his rear view mirror. "Looks like those SWAT cowboys."

McCall braced her hand on the car's window frame.

"You're calling them cowboys?" she called sarcastically. "You just fired at a moving vehicle, minutes after you were just demoted for shooting at a moving vehicle!"

He smirked as he jerked the wheel to avoid a Toyota that had failed to pull over.

"Like you said, I'm hardheaded."

Street steered the Suburban into oncoming traffic in order to miss the same, siren ignoring Toyota.

"Damn, I hate traffic in this city!" Hondo snapped as he snatched the mic from it's holder. "70-David, show us northbound Flower turning east onto 5th behind R-125."

By now, several black and whites had joined the pursuit behind them as well as a police helicopter overhead, and two local news copters.

The Range Rover turned north onto Grand, speeding in excess of 70 miles per hour up the steep hill that split through the canyon of skyscrapers. Traffic was stopped ahead, with the intersection at 3rd Street jammed with buses, trucks and cars.

The suspect vehicle skidded and fishtailed in an effort to avoid the gridlock.

"We got 'im now, boss!" Street called as he slowed the Suburban.

"Don't be so sure," Hondo replied, pulling his sidearm.

The suspects turned right and drove up onto the sidewalk, then down into the open air courtyard at the base of two looming office buildings, causing people to flee inside.

The driver spun the vehicle around so that it faced the street and revved the engine.

"Oh, there is no way in hell they're makin' it back to the street!" Hondo snapped, sounding highly annoyed. "Jim..."

"Way ahead of ya, Hondo," Street replied as he drove up onto the sidewalk and stopped the Suburban above the stairs, blocking the suspects' only exit route.

Hunter backed up the unmarked unit and drove it up onto the sidewalk as well. He and McCall stepped out guns drawn.

Hondo left the driver's side of the SUV with his sidearm leveled at the Range Rover.

Street took up a position behind his door with his MP5 sub-machine gun poised to fire.

Several black and whites stopped in the street as more officers flooded the scene.

The barrel of the sniper's rifle appeared from the Range Rover's passenger window.

Hondo fired three rounds through the windshield. The rifle barrel dropped and the passenger slumped over.

The driver's door opened and the suspect wearing a black jacket stepped out, holding a pistol low at his side and raced for cover.

The suspect dove behind a low retaining wall. He reemerged, holding a small boy hostage, with the muzzle of the pistol pressed to the child's head.

"Put him down! Now!" Hondo shouted as he jogged down the steps.

"You did this! This is your doing! The LAPD! All of you!" the man shouted.

Hunter cautiously rushed forward, followed by his partner.

"You're not helpin' yourself, pal," he called, keeping his .45 rigidly aimed at the suspect. "Listen to the man, put the boy down."

The boy cried in the man's arms, struggling to break free from his grasp.

Street crouched low. He hurried back alongside the Suburban out of the suspect's view and then crept through the mass of police cars, unnoticed.

Hondo and Hunter made their way down the steps.

"Stop! Stop! Don't you pigs come any closer!" the suspect shouted. "Don't you get it? You think I'm the only one? There's more! More like me!"

"Let that little boy go and you can tell us whatever you want," said McCall, calmly. "You know it's not right to use him like that."

"Not right? Not right? There's plenty of things not right in this world! In this city!"

Street jogged down the sidewalk and knelt behind a concrete trash receptacle.

He propped his MP5 on the edge and lined up a clear shot at the back of the suspect's head.

"Mom…," the little boy cried." Where are you? "

The door to a ground floor suite opened and a woman screamed as she ran forward.

"No! Don't hurt my son!" she cried.

As the suspect turned to see where the woman was, the boy slipped in his arms.

Street fired. A single .9mm round pierced the suspect's skull, just above his left eye.

He crumpled to the pavement, dropping the boy, who ran to his mother.

The officers rushed forward, guns still trained on the suspect.

"He's done," Hondo said, holstering his pistol as he keyed the mic on his tactical vest. "70-David, shots fired, suspect down. Roll me an R.A. for an adult male, gunshot wound to the head. No officers injured."

McCall and a patrol officer cleared the suspect's vehicle as other officers tended to the boy and his mother.

Street exhaled as he walked over and slipped off his helmet, his weapon slung across his chest.

"Nice shot, Jimmy," Hondo said, slapping his shoulder.

Hunter nodded as he stared down at the suspect's body.

"Works for me."

"What the hell was he talking about?" asked McCall as she walked over.

Street shrugged as he slipped off his goggles and wiped his brow.

"Guess it's up to the detectives now."

XXXXXX

Police Administration Building.

Robbery-Homicide Division.

A phone rang on one of the large metal desks that lined both sides of the office. A detective at the far end looked up from his desk.

"Hey, somebody gonna answer that?" he called.

A serious looking detective in his forties, sporting a dark crew cut, walked into the office carrying a sport coat over his shoulder.

He draped the jacket over his desk chair and picked up the phone.

"Robbery-Homicide," he answered. "Sergeant Friday."

TO BE CONTINUED…

This is a work of fiction, any similarities to actual persons, places or incidents is purely coincidental. All law enforcement information may not be accurate.