The headline on the front page of Saturday's Seattle Post-Impressionist:
Suspect's Uzi Linked to Shooting of Prince County Child
This being an election year, I presumed that the local sheriff breathed easier upon learning the results of the ballistics comparison of the dead suspect's Uzi against the spent slugs and shells recovered at the scene of the drive-by shooting. In the midst of the Grand Jury's police-corruption probe, the last thing the Sheriff's Office needed right now was another public relations crisis. However, in this particular instance of Black-Man-Killed-By-Cop, few citizens expressed concern over the elimination of a thug who put a little girl's life in jeopardy, even as the evidence proved that he had not fired shots at the deputies.
* * *
For the next three weeks, Angie and I stayed at less costly temporary lodgings, at a tolerable motel near downtown Seattle, far from the criminal iniquity of the Sea-Tac Airport area. I had asked Tina to join us there, but again she flatly refused, on this occasion citing the reason that she had no intention of - quoting her exactly - “sleepin' on crusty cum-stained motel sheets.” I could only assume that Hilton was very scrupulous in cleaning its linen.
While living at the motel, we devoted our time to hunting for a house or apartment to replace our trashed-out mobile home, to which I had made only a single furtive visit in the early morning in order to board-up the broken windows and grab personal belongings. Our funky old second-hand furniture could be hauled to the city dump, as far as I was concerned.
On Sunday afternoon, less than 48 hours after the dreadful excitement of the drive-by shooting(s), my work week commenced. I was one of the few employees working that day at the 15-story Xeno Building. After loading the company's Unisys mainframe with enough programs and computer tapes to keep it running virtually unattended for hours, I was able to catch-up with my phone messages. Aside from the usual pleas from computer users for technical support, there was a message was from a representative of MJ Recruiters, an employment agency (ostensibly), which had been trying to recruit me, on and off, for the past six years, ever since my military discharge from the United States Air Force in 1980. They had an uncanny knack of knowing whenever I was considering changing jobs or about to get laid-off. Seemingly not by coincidence, it wasn't going to be long before I found out whether my position at Xeno would be cut. If the past was any indication, getting contacted by those “headhunters” at this time made my upcoming unemployment almost a certainty.
MJ Recruiters must have been acting as a front for US intelligence agencies (ultimately for the CIA), since little else could explain their keen, long-term interest in me. There was nothing special about me, except that while working as a low-level analyst in Air Force Intelligence, I had been allowed access to extremely sensitive classified information, referred-to as “ESI”. Having once possessed a security clearance with ESI access made me a convenient, ready-made candidate for employment within the intelligence community. In spy agency jargon, I was considered “pre-vetted'. But because they didn't offer much more money than I could make on the outside, I had always politely rebuffed their persistent recruiting efforts. Furthermore, I had grown weary of the melodramatically secretive and somewhat depressing way of life which goes hand-in-hand with intelligence work. That's why I had decided to leave the Air Force in the first place, despite being offered a lucrative bonus to re-enlist.
* * *
After work that night, Angie and I managed to catch this report on the late local news on TV: “...The man killed by Prince County deputies last Friday has been identified as 22-year old Gary Matthew Edwards, who, according to officers in the sheriff's Gang Unit, had ties to a local street gang called the BWMs. Edwards had previous run-ins with the law...”
When an old police mug shot of Edwards appeared on-sceen, Angie let out a gasp. “Oh my God, I've seen him somewhere before, Den!”
“How could you? You're joking, right?” But for some reason, the longer I viewed the photo, the more familiar he appeared to me, as well.
Flapping her dainty hands in excitement, she said, “No, no, wait-a-minute, where did I see him at? Oh yeah, at the New Year's party at A.J.'s apartment! Everybody there called him 'G'.”
I exhaled heavily. “Well, that only confirms what I already suspected.” Having said that, it suddenly struck me: “G” was one of the two men I had seen balling Marta and the other young chicks to a fare-thee-well on the video tape.
Before going at work on Monday, I called Detective Jameson from a pay phone. I had already decided against accusing him of having an information leak in his office. Because if that happened to be true, there was no sense in making wild accusations and possibly face retribution from corrupt cops. Now that we had moved away, and with Edwards dead and A.J. on the run, I would leave bad-enough alone. So rather than shooting my mouth off, I merely gave Jameson new information pertaining to the sex video: that Gary Matthew Edwards was one of the three men in the video. Jameson replied, “Really? The same Edwards those deputies just put on a slab? Hang-on a second, Denny.” He then punched-up Edwards' mug shot onto his computer screen. “I'll be damned, it sure looks like him. I'll have to take another look at that tape.”
“On the news they reported that Edwards was in the BWMs, and I know that Davis is, so maybe the other guy on the tape is too.”
He wasn't overly impressed by my powers of inductive reasoning : “It's a lead, at any rate.” Then he abruptly shifted gears, as if to catch me with my guard down: “Denny, why didn't you tell me that you witnessed that drive-by shooting of the kid? I'm looking at the incident report right now, which includes your field interview with Sergeant Kronwall of the Gang Unit. Kronwall writes, 'Witness SMITH, DENTON T advised that he believed he was targeted by perp, possible suspect DAVIS, ANTHONY J and/or unknown BWM gang associates'.” Then Jameson admonished, “This is a big county, Denny, and we can't be everywhere simultaneously. Had you told me right away, Davis might be behind bars right now.” And if I had told him right away, I could have received police protection, thus sparing myself from Davis' subsequent attempt on my life, I might have added - but didn't.
Instead I hesitantly said, “Well, I wasn't sure if I could trust you guys anymore, to be honest. I never had to worry about fuckers shooting at me until I gave you that sex tape.”
Skeptically - or so it sounded to me - he replied, “Next thing you'll be telling me is that we got a BWM spy working in this office.”
“Hey, you didn't hear that from me. Listen, if the County Prosecutor wants me to testify against Davis someday, I have no problem with that. But until then, I'm keeping my mouth zipped.”
* * *
April 3, 1986
The day after Angie and I had moved into our new apartment, the law finally caught-up with Davis. His arrest set in motion a chain of events which would eventually expose a criminal network far more extensive than I could imagine at the time.
Here's the gist of the story of his arrest and the immediate aftermath: In the month since I had last spoken to Jameson, the sheriff's Vice Squad, in conjunction with the Gang Unit, obtained court orders authorizing the monitoring of the home phones of Davis' associates in the BWM gang. After two weeks of electronic and physical surveillance, the cops traced him to a BWM stash-house located in a quiet, upscale suburban neighborhood. In addition to collaring Davis and two of his gang cohorts, the Sheriff's Office had seized several kilos of a new type of smoke-able cocaine called “crack”, a kilo of pure China White heroin and a large amount of cash. But what garnered the most media attention was what had been discovered in a bedroom and in the garage. In one bedroom they had come across two underage Asian females, Chinese citizens who had been smuggled into the US, probably hidden inside shipping containers . And inside the attached garage was what was alleged to be a makeshift video studio. As a result, dozens of video tapes were also seized, to be closely examined for suspected child porn content. Davis, who was considered a high flight-risk, had been denied bail and would remain in Prince County Jail indefinitely.
That night, during a brief press conference which was broadcast live on local TV, beleaguered Sheriff Pat Nuttingham beamed with pride as he laid-out in sordid detail the allegations which I have just described. By the time he was finished, his arms must have gotten sore from patting himself on the back.
Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop