After the third gunshot, Edeeth took Monica to the last stall in the lavatory and told her to get in and stay low. With her weapon drawn, she cautiously made her way towards the door of the restroom. She slowly pushed the door open and was immediately greeted by the sight of pandemonium. Officers, both uniformed and plain-clothed, were running back and forth the corridors in panic. Edeeth tried to follow the events unfolding in front of her, but the confusion was too much for her senses. She saw a few policemen been carried off towards the emergency first aid room; one had been shot on the leg while another sustained two gunshot wounds to the arm and shoulder. She saw a uniformed policewoman careening in her direction, snatched her am before she go run past and asked what was going on.
“Shots fired within the premises, ma’am,” the policewoman said, trying to catch her breath.
“Who fired the shots – one of our own?”
“No – an unknown gunman, driving a black Benz jeep” – she stopped for air – “started shooting away at our guys. He broke through the gates before the spike traps could be deployed.”
“He got away?!”
“I don’t know – two senior officers were in close pursuit and two units have been dispatched as backup just before I came in now.”
Another bleeding officer was hurriedly carried past the dialoguing duo towards the emergency room. The two women watched as the man on the stretcher moaned in agony. He had been shot on the buttocks. The policewoman refocused on Edeeth and continued, “The senior officers in pursuit are Sergeant-Major Lanre and a member of your team.”
“Walter!” Edeeth heard herself say out loud as she looked towards the exit of the building. She quickly turned back towards the lavatory and kicked open the door. She yelled for Monica to come out, and when she did, Edeeth spoke to the policewoman, “Take her to the interrogation room and stay with her.” The policewoman nodded and Edeeth looked at Monica, held her hand and said, “You stay put in there, I’ll be right back…ok?”
Monica nodded and the policewoman, holding Monica by the arm, led her towards the interrogation room. Edeeth started running towards the exit. All that was on her mind was Walter’s safety.
When Chrome heard the first gunshot, his instincts led him to do the first thing that came to his mind as a police officer – protect all the civilians. He pulled his gun out of its holster and ran back into the interrogation room. The commissioner, though alarmed by what had just occurred, was calm and composed as Chrome instructed him to stay put until he found out what was happening. More gunshots resounded.
“What the hell is going?!” the commissioner burst out.
“I don’t know. You wait here while I go find out.” Chrome started for the door.
“What about my daughter – where’s she?!” Anthony barked at him.
“Your daughter should be safe where she is,” Chrome replied as he thought of how efficient Edeeth was in situations like this.
Chrome had started out the door when Anthony hesitantly asked, “Are…are you going to leave me here alone?”
Chrome fought the irritation building up inside; he grimaced and then slowly turned towards commissioner. “I’ll get an officer to watch the door. You just stay put!” And he eventually left the room and ran in the direction where the gunshots came from.
The car Walter and Lanre were in had just darted past the gates when Chrome ran out through the exit. He was surprised at the pandemonium that greeted him outside. There were people, men and women, some in police uniforms and some in plain clothes, crying out in pain from gunshot wounds. He took a quick glance around and found a uniform he knew. Grabbing the man by the hand, Chrome pulled him to the side and asked what had happened. After the man was done recapping the event for him, Chrome had to stifle the urge to go after them; his priorities lay here.
He suddenly yelled out to the confused crowd of policemen. “Alright, listen up, everybody!” The attention on him was slow in coming but it was absolute when it did. He continued, “Let’s get the injured to the emergency room for immediate treatment of their wounds!” Immediately his orders were carried out by the officers as they all helped each of their wounded comrades unto stretchers and other means to transport them to the emergency room. Chrome was grateful in his heart that the revamping of the police force saw the establishment of emergency first aid units which could handle anything from minor bruises to gunshot wounds, before the cases were referred to the bigger hospitals. If it wasn’t for such reforms, he wondered what would have become of these injured officers. He then turned his attention to the policeman in front of him and said, “Get to the control room, tell them to track all mobile C.S.I. vehicles and deploy two units after the one nearest to this place…ok?”
“One more thing, after you deliver my directive to the control room, I want you to go by the interrogation room and stand guard there. Got it?”
“Yes sir!” The policeman hastened in the direction of the control room.
Chrome turned his gaze towards the gates. It had been more than a minute since Walter and Lanre went after Dapo Ajayi. “Be sure to get this guy, Wally,” Chrome said to himself as he stood and watched the gate, waiting for the backups to be deployed. He took a deep breath and murmured, “I’m counting on you.”
Jerome was on his way back from the township of Jos when he noticed a gathering of police officers around an uncompleted building which was a few yards away from the H.Q. He wasn’t ready to eat the food being served at the cafeteria inside the police building so in his search for a decent fast-food joint, he’d ended up in the main town. He slowed down his car when he got close to the uncompleted building and was quick to recognize the man being pushed into a waiting police van to be the driver of Anthony Scott. He also spotted Walter and Lanre walking out of the building. Walter’s clothes looked rumpled and dirty, and the arm of his shirt was stained red. Jerome knew better than to stop to ask questions. He drove off to the police building and as soon as he drove into the compound, he spied Chrome and Edeeth waiting at the entrance to the building. That was when it dawned on Jerome that something big had just happened. And he had missed it.
He pulled up into the car park and got out, his eyes taking in the aftermath of the chaos. There were broken glass from shattered windscreens and blood stains which hadn’t been cleaned up yet. As he approached the station’s entrance, he overheard Edeeth talking to Chrome.
“…guy is pretty dangerous.”
“Yes, but I’m sure Walter can handle himself,” Chrome said.
Jerome saw Edeeth hunch her shoulders in that way she had when she was trying to physically stifle her embarrassment. “Yea, of course, he can,” she said with forced offhandedness.
“Besides, he has Lanre with him, and backup heading out there.”
“He’s fine, guys,” Jerome called out as he walked up beside them. Both of them turned questioning looks to him. He continued, “I saw our guys bundling the commissioner’s driver into one of the police vans. He seemed knocked out.”
“And Walter – what about him?” Edeeth asked, her voice a little strained.
“Fine. I saw him looking a little roughed up but fine, together with Lanre.”
There was an audible exhalation – of relief, Jerome supposed – from Edeeth. Chrome was going to say something when a police van swept into the compound through the gate. It was closely followed by the squad cars that went as backup, and finally Walter’s car. When the vehicles pulled up to the entrance, the policemen alighted and a couple opened the van and pulled out the handcuffed Dapo; he had regained consciousness and stared at his captors with a snarling expression on his face. As they led him past Chrome, the CSI chief locked eyes with the driver. The slight sinister smile on the man’s face wasn’t enough to faze the officer.
“Take him to the second interrogation room. I’ll be right behind,” Chrome said to the officers escorting Dapo, and he was led into the building.
Meanwhile, Edeeth had hurried forward to meet Walter as he alighted from his car. She suddenly stopped in her tracks when she realized that her intention had been to hug him, so intense was the relief she felt at seeing him. Feeling a flush of discomfiture at the unfamiliar emotion, she continued towards the car, her steps less hurried, watching as Lanre patted Walter on the back and walked away.
“I thought you hated that guy,” she said jocularly when she faced Walter.
“I still do,” Walter replied, smiling. “But for now, we’ve decided to hate our perp first and foremost. After this case is over, then the world can go back to the way it used to be.”
Edeeth chuckled. “You look terrible,” she said as her eyes took in the blood stains on his disheveled form.
“Did you see the other guy?”
“I did. He looked pretty banged up too.”
“All part of a day’s job, babe.”
“My superhero,” Edeeth said with a theatrical gush and an exaggerated batting of her eyelids.
They both shared a laugh and moved together to the entrance where the other two members of their team still stood. “Hello, chief,” Walter greeted. “’Sup, Jay.”
“Exciting stuff you’ve just been through, huh?” Jerome said with a smirk.
“You bet. Plus I’ve got results from my little trip to the airport.”
“Yea, me too,” Jerome interjected, suddenly remembering. He turned his face to Chrome. “The email, I printed it out. It makes for very interesting reading. Let me go get it.” He walked into the building.
The others followed, approaching the interrogation rooms in time to see Anthony tongue-lashing Dapo as he was led past the doorway of the interrogation room where he stood. “How could you?” the commissioner was yelling, his face tightened with the fury he felt. “You irresponsible sonofabitch! How could you –!”
The expression on Dapo’s face was a mixture of surprise and mutinous anger. Chrome turned to face his two subordinates. “Walter, go and get yourself checked out and changed out of these clothes. Edeeth, make sure that he does, okay?” The duo nodded and started to walk away before Chrome added, “Let’s meet back in the interrogation room 2.”