Operation Kill A Cop
Ironside sat in silence while Kinney drove the blue Ford away from the Golden Gate bridge. What had made the man flip out this way? What made the disturbed mind snap to the point of murder? Kinney had served his time. He was a free man. Of course he would have had to start completely over and decide what he would do for a living. Why would he take this route when he reached that fork in the road?
Ironside put him away for a couple years for his part in the robbery but now he would be facing several counts of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. The chief knew he would have to be careful how he handled him. Kinney had absolutely nothing to lose. He had already killed several cops. One more cop would mean little to him. And Ironside had no intentions of joining the other dead cops. No, it was his duty to bring Kinney in and see to it that justice took its course.
"Mr. Kinney, tell me Pete Gates' middle name was not Robert so why did you kill him?" Ironside asked, knowing the answer. He needed to keep Kinney distracted long enough for Ed and Eve to figure out where he was.
"Oh come on Chief. Please do not insult my intelligence. I know you know the answer to that question. My target was not Gates. He just happened to be with with Dillon Cook. I could not take out one without taking out the other."
The blue Ford pulled off the road in the country. Kinney look around. There was not a human being in sight. He pulled the Ford around and parked it between two bushes. They almost completely concealed the vehicle. "Stay put chief. Remember, I will not hesitate to kill you if you try anything at all." Kinney got out of the vehicle. He went around to the back and opened the trunk. He reached in and picked up a crow bar. After slamming the truck closed, he walked around the front to check on Ironside. Satisfied that Ironside was behaving himself, he proceeded to a series of bushes.
Kinney had discovered a door to tunnels that ran under San Francisco. Few knew of them. Ironside knew about them because Dennis Randall, whose tongue had been loosened by several drinks when out drinking with his number one detective, had told him all about them. There were several entrances. If his memory served him correctly this entrance had been concealed by brush. For the safety of the public and secrecy from those who might use them for criminal reasons, Randall had ordered the door welded shut.
Kinney put the crow bar into the bushed on the side of the door and pried the door open. He walked back to the van. "Did you know there were tunnels that ran under San Francisco?"
"No," Ironside lied. He did not want Kinney to know that he had studied the plans after he learned about them. The less Kinney knew about what he knew the better.
"Well what do you know? The great Robert Ironside doesn't know everything. Well, let me be the first to give you the grand tour."
Ironside looked at the opening. "How do you expect me to get in there? There must be some kind of ladder leading down there. My legs are no good. I can't climb down there," Ironside said.
"Well you are going to. I will help you in the door and then you will have to depend on the strength in your upper body to go down the ladder."
"What about my chair?" Ironside snarled.
"Forget the chair, Ironside. If you don't have the chair, you are not mobile. You will be much easier for me to handle."
Ironside did not like this. He did not like the idea of not having his wheelchair. It would make it more difficult to deal with Kinney. "Why don't you drop the chair down?"
Kinney laughed. "You would like that, wouldn't you chief? Not going to happen. Without that chair you are helpless and that is the way I want you. Now I am only going to say this once. If you give me any trouble getting you down into the tunnels, I will simply kill you and tell your staff where to locate the body. Do we understand each other?"
"We do," Ironside answered with a cold stare.
"Good. Now turn your back to the door so I can drag you out of the car."
Ironside did as he was told. He knew it was imperative he keep his wits. It could be the difference between life and death. Kinney grabbed Ironside behind both arms and pulled him out of the car. Stopping momentarily to adjust his grip on the big man, he dragged him over to the opening of the tunnel. Setting him down, he shinned a flashlight down into the tunnel. "Ok, here's the deal. There is a ladder directly under this opening. You can rest your feet on each rung as you lower yourself down into the tunnel. Again, Ironside, don't try anything or I'll kill you."
Kinney pulled Ironside close to the entrance and then lifted him. "Alright grab hold of the top of the entrance. I'll slide your legs into the opening and then you turn around. Lower yourself rung by rung."
Ironside grabbed the top of the entrance and Kinney lifted his legs so that they were dangling inside. Ironside then turned his body and began lowering himself down the ladder. Mustering all the strength he could, Ironside move first his right hand to a lower rung and then left hand. His progress was slow. He had gone down about fifty steps when he stopped.
"Move it Ironside. There are about thirty more steps."
"I think my foot is hooked around the rung," Ironside called out.
"What the hell do you mean you think," Kinney yelled at him.
"I think because I can't feel them!" Ironside growled with sarcasm.
"Unhook it or you are going to find yourself at the bottom much more quickly."
Ironside encircled his right arm around the rung and reached down with his left hand. He took hold of his pant leg across his thigh, lifted up on it and pushed outward. He tried to continue downward but he realized he was still tangled around the ladder. He reached up, wrapped his left arm around the rung, reached down with his right hand and repeated the attempt to free his right leg. This time he was successful.
Ironside again continued moved downward. Because of his disability, he had developed extraordinary strength in his upper torso but still he was beginning to tire under the weight of his own body. Ironside had made his way further down but by his count he was still twenty five steps from the floor. He latched on to the next rung. Crack! The rung gave way and Ironside fell several rungs before he was able to grabbed another one. Crack! That rung gave way and Ironside fell to the floor of the tunnel. His vision blurred. The last think he saw was Kinney working his way down the ladder before he passed out.
The phone rang. Ed and Mark grabbed for the phone at the same time. Ed beat him by a second or two. He barked into the phone. "Chief Ironside's office, Sgt Brown."
"Ed, this is Captain Smith. We have located Jeremy Hedison. He had a hunch and was following it. He just came in. He is on his way up now." Ed hung up the phone and relayed the conversation to his friends.
Within a few minutes the door opened and Jeremy Hedison came down the ramp. "Sgt. Brown. I think I know who the cop killer is."
"Sit down, Jeremy," Ed said.
Hedison sat down in a chair at the main table in Ironside's office. "When I found out the killer had used the same make rife to shoot Lt. Reese as the one that paralyzed the chief, I remembered someone who was compelled to buy that particular model because it had been so accurate when used against the chief on Randall's farm. "Now that alone was not enough to point a finger so I kept quiet until I could bring the chief more. Then I heard downstairs that someone had accessed the personnel files on the department computer system by way of my password. I have been lax over the years in changing my password. But only one person in all the years I have been a cop had access to my password."
"Who?" Brown asked.
"Kinney. He did not have high enough clearance to access some files. That was right about the time of the blackout. I was given permission to let him use mine. I was supposed to change that password afterwards but I didn't. Sergeant, if Kinney remembered that password then he could have been the one to access the system."
"Which would place him in this office at the time of Robert Townsend's murder," Eve pointed out.
"Eve, get on the phone and find out if Kinney has been released from prison yet. He was supposed to serve two years, if I remember correctly." Eve went over the chief's desk and started dialing.
"Jeremy, can you verify your whereabouts when the system was breached?"
"Yes sir. I can. I was on duty. Lt. George will verify I was here in the building working with him on a case and never left the office."
"Mark, check his alibi," Ed said. "Please understand I am not accusing you Jeremey….."
"I know sergeant, you have to check. Go ahead. I have nothing to hide."
Within a few minutes Mark came back to the table. "He checks out."
Eve hung up the phone and said, "Kinney was released over a month ago. He was supposed to report to his parole officer but he failed to show up. They have a warrant out for his arrest for violating parole but have not been able to locate him."
"Put an APB out on him, Eve."
"Already have," she replied.
"Any word on the van yet?" Ed asked.
"Not yet." Eve turned to look at Brown. "Ed, we have got to find the chief."
"We will," he assured her.
"Kinney worked in records, didn't he?" Ed asked.
"Yes, sir. He did until the chief arrested him for being in on the attempted robbery and blackout.
"Jeremy, get down to records and find out if he took an interest in anything in particular. Check to see what records he made hard copies of. I have a hunch he is the one that lured the chief out of this office. If he did, he has the chief and we had better find him and fast. Get moving."
"On it, sergeant," he said as he headed out of the office.
"Ed, I pulled Kinney's records from personnel. Nothing much in here other than his arrest records. I dispatched a patrol car to his last known address," Eve said.
"Eve, you come with me. Mark stay here. Call us if the van is spotted. I want Hedison put through to me immediately, if he comes up with anything. Eve, let's go."
"Where are we going?" Eve asked.
"To Kinney's last known address."
Ironside groaned as he regained consciousness. He looked around. He was in a room that was completely furnished with furniture. Lanterns dimly lit the room. He was lying on the floor. Ironside shook his head, trying to clear the fog. He tried to focus but his vision was blurred. It was then he realized that it was blood that was blurring his vision. He wiped the blood out of his eye with the sleeve of his suit coat.
Ironside crawled over to a couch. Using his arms, he pulled himself up on the couch. He untwisted his legs and surveyed his surroundings. Kinney either was living down here or recently furnished it for holding up here until he could get out of San Francisco. On the table beside him laid a finger nail file. Ironside picked it up and put it in his suit coat pocket.
The blood was running into his eye once again. With his hand, he reached up and felt above his eye. There was a gash about a half-inch long. Above it, he could feel a rather large bump on his forehead. He must have hit his head in the fall from the ladder. He looked down at his feet. His right ankle looked to be bigger than the other was. Ironside reached down and ran his hand up and down his lower leg to his ankle. He pulled the sock back. He could not see the anklebone. It was swollen to more than double its size. Ironside was sure if he had feeling in his legs, that ankle would be extremely painful. He never thought he would say this but his disability did have it advantages on occasion.
The door opened and Kinney walked in. "You took quite a bump on the head chief. I was afraid you would off yourself before I get a chance to."
"Sorry I didn't oblige you," Ironside snarled.
Kinney chuckled. "No you're not. You are going to fight me every step of the way. Chief Robert T. Ironside will not go down without a fight."
"Give yourself up, Kinney. You will not get away with this," Ironside said.
"May I point out to you that I have already gotten away with this? No one is going to find you down here chief. No one knows about these tunnels except for Dennis Randall and a select few. Most of them were city council members who are now dead. So don't depend on your staff to save the day this time, Ironside. They will not even be looking down here for you."
"What do you want from me?" Ironside asked.
"To kill you," he answered.
"No you want something more than that or you would have already tried to kill me."
"You forget chief. I already tried to kill you outside you whore's apartment building." Kinney watched to see if calling Barbara a whore had any visible affect on him. It did not. Ironside's expression was hard as nails. He didn't even flinch. But then he would have been disappointed if he had. Ironside was very disciplined.
"I thought at first you were trying to kill me but when we put two and two together and saw that you were killing officers whose names contained Robert, I knew your real target was Barbara."
"How can you be so sure?"
"You said yourself that killing those officers were for my benefit. What good would it have done to kill me before them? You would have lost your prime audience."
"Very good chief. You are right of course. I not surprised. You have always been brilliant when it comes to deduction."
"Because I need to keep you busy while I took care of those officers. You are entirely too good to allow that computerized mind of yours the time to think. Being occupied with your whore, kept you from working on the case. Actually I was surprised that you left her as soon as you did. I figured I had at least a couple days."
"You still have not told me what you want?"
"Oh, I want you to suffer. See, I plan on killing a couple more cops before I do you in. I had to get you out of the way first. You were getting too close. I could tell that when you rushed in to save Officer Sanchez."
"First, I am going to go to the hospital tonight and finish the job on Lt. Reese and then I will take out your Sgt. Brown. After that I will come back and kill you."
"You will never get out of this town. I have it bottled up."
"Now that I was sure of. But you did not know about these tunnels. I figure your perimeter includes the city only. You see, we are very close to the outskirts of the city. After I take care of Brown and Reese…..and you of course, I will simply come back here and leave the city by way of this tunnel. Then I will head for Mexico. I can't make a life here so I will start fresh down there. Your office will be shut down without you to lead it and when the trail runs cold the police department will give up looking for me. Not a bad plan, don't you think?"
The plans of this tunnel were running through Ironside's mind. He tried to remember if they ran out of the city. He didn't think they did but he could not be sure. If Kinney had planned this entire killing spree around the fact that one of the tunnels led out of the city then he had to accept that it did.
"Will you look at that? I never thought I would see the day when Robert T. Ironside was speechless. Well, I must be going now. You behave yourself chief. Of course you will be confined to this room while I am gone and I was careful to be sure there is nothing here that will help you. There is some water on the table. I would not want you to die of dehydration. There is no food but we all could stand to lose a few pounds, don't you think? I'll see you in a bit." With that Kinney left the room.
Ironside heard the door lock from the other side. He rolled off the couch and pulled himself with his arms over to the door. Grabbing the knob, he tried turning it. He knew it was locked but he had to try anyway. Ironside pulled the finger nail file out of his pocket and put the end of it into the lock. After ten minutes of trying to jimmy the lock, he gave up. It was apparent he would not be opening that lock with the file.
He rolled over and looked the room over. As promised Kinney, had left a pitcher of water on the table with an empty glass. He dragged his body over to the table. Putting both arms on the seat of the chair, he pulled and tugged until he was seated in the chair. Ironside poured a glass of water and drank the entire contents without stopping. He again filled the glass and drank it. After he had his fill of water, he examined the pitcher. It was made of plastic as was the glass. Kinney had been sure he had not left glass for Ironside to use as a weapon.
He took the glass and slammed it against the table. It broke in half. Still it was nothing he could use as a weapon. He again looked around the room. Placing half of the glass in his side pocket of his suit coat, he slid off the chair to the floor. Again using his arms to pull along the floor, Ironside traveled over to the lantern sitting on a small table across the room. He reached up and took the lantern. Grabbing hold of the side of the lantern, he lifted it into the air with his right hand; his left hand holding down the half glass. He brought it crashing down on the half glass on the right hand side. It shattered the section which he hit. He turned it upside it over so that the undamaged side was now on the right. Again he lifted the lantern and smashed the half glass. After he had the basic shape he wanted, he continued hitting the plastic glass. This time he used less force. Time after time, he brought the lantern down on the plastic until he was satisfied with his finish product. Robert Ironside has successfully crafted a knife out of the plastic glass which he placed in his side pocket of his suit coat.
What was it Kinney sarcastically had said? He did not want Ironside dying of dehydration before he came back. Unknowingly he had left Ironside a weapon that might just keep him from dying at Kinney's hand. When he looked up, he noticed a storage cupboard. He crawled over to the cupboard and opened it….more plastic glasses. He pulled one out, crawled over to the table, pulled himself up far enough to replace the broken glass. Taking the other half of the broken glass, he put it into his other suit coat pocket and lowered back to the floor. He crawled back to the cupboard and placed the rest of the broken glass behind the other glasses.
Ironside pulled himself into a sitting position and looked around the room. He noticed another cupboard in the opposite corner of where the glasses were kept. Although exhaustion was beginning to set in, he crawled over to the cupboard. Inside the cupboard was a dart board. He threw that aside. He could not see anything of use. Then he hesitated. The shelf went way back. Ironside pulled forward and reached in to see what was behind the dart board and the other useless junk that laid in the way. He pushed everything to one side and smiled. Mr. Kinney had missed a dart. The detective stretched to retrieve the dart, which he placed in his coat pocket.
He cocked his head as it appeared there was something back even further in the cupboard. He backed his shoulder to the cupboard and stretched as far as he could. Once he got his fingers on it, he pulled out a roll of white string held in place by an elastic band. Ironside slid it across the floor to the door. He started to back away from the cupboard when he thought better of it. Two pieces of old wood had been pushed to the side when he moved the junk over. Ironside grabbed the wood and slid those toward the door as well.
Now he would have to make do with the tools he had to work with. Kinney was right about one thing. He would not go down without a fight.