Knock Out

Knock Out

Page 3

The bank alarm went off.

Savich heard another dozen shots and his heart stopped. Then, to his blessed relief, he heard Agent Ruth Warnecki scream from the now open door of the bank, “Hold your fire! He’s down, he’s down!” They’d gotten the robber who’d run out of the bank.

Agent Ollie Hamish shouted over the pandemonium and the wildly screeching alarm, “Okay, folks, it’s all over now. We’re FBI. Is anyone hurt?”

Savich yelled, “Ollie, the manager is in the vault. They shot him. Riley, shut down that alarm!”

Sherlock fell to her knees beside him. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay.”

“What’s this?”

Savich knelt beside the girl, turned her over, and jerked off the ski mask. He looked at her young face, deathly white, mouth bloodied from biting against the pain, dark hair matted to her head. “This is one of them, Sherlock. She’s only a kid.” The girl moaned, her eyelashes fluttering. When her eyes opened, he stared down into her pain-glazed dark eyes. He leaned close. “What’s your name?”

She spit at him.

“What’s your name?” he repeated.

The kid snarled, “I’m going to kill you, shoot you in the head, watch it explode.”

“Charming,” Sherlock said.

“I kicked her pretty hard in the stomach. She needs an ambulance.”

She was whimpering now, tears clogging in her throat, choking her, and she was saying over and over, “Mama, Mama. I want my mama.”

“The manager’s shot in the chest,” Ollie shouted. “I’ve got pressure on it. An ambulance is on the way.”

“Get another one,” Savich shouted.

Agent Dane Carver was helping people to their feet, patting backs, and checking for injuries, his FBI voice smooth and easy. “It’s okay now. Everyone’s okay—try to stay calm. Everyone head on over here and sit down. We’ll get everything sorted out. That’s right, breathe deeply. It’s over.”

Buzz Riley’s voice rose over all of them, authoritative as a drill sergeant’s: “Sherry, Anne, Tim, get everyone settled over in the New Accounts department. Everyone, please stay together. It’s all over. Hear those sirens? More backup. Everything’s under control.”

Savich spoke to Special Agent Raymond Marley, four-year SAC of the Washington field office, as several agents took positions throughout the bank, calming people down. “I think it’s the Gang of Four, two men, two women. This was their first foray into D.C.”

Ray said, “Savich, how’d you get here so fast?”

“I was one of the customers.”

“Not their lucky day to have the wolfhound in the herd. Didn’t turn out well for them, did it?”

It could have, Savich thought. It could have turned out very differently.

The paramedics came charging through, a dozen WPD uniforms trailing them.

In under a minute, the EMTs had Mac Jamison strapped to a gurney. Savich and Sherlock ran to catch up with them. Jamison’s eyes were closed, and an oxygen mask covered his face. One of the EMTs applied pressure to his blood-soaked chest wound. “Is he going to make it?”

“He’d better,” the EMT said. “I get real grouchy if anybody buys it on my watch.” Seconds later they were gone.

The next set of paramedics took charge of the teenage girl whose mama lay dead not a dozen feet away, soaked in blood from her torn carotid artery. Blood was streaking in all directions across the marble floor; a dozen customers stared numbly at the snaking thick red rivers.

Bank employees were hovering around the customers, holding it together. They’d been trained for this, like flight attendants, but Savich was sure the training hadn’t come close to the terrifying reality. He admired their courage. He walked over to the group. “Who’s the assistant manager?”

“I am, Agent Savich,” a woman said. “Is Mac going to be all right?”

“The EMT told me he was going to make it.” Just a small exaggeration, but the relief flooding all the faces around him made it worthwhile. “If you guys could keep everyone calm for a while longer, I’d really appreciate it.”

Four FBI agents and a couple of local cops stood staring down at the woman. It was hard to tell she was soaked in her own blood since she was dressed entirely in black. Someone had pulled off her black mask. She was about thirty-five, he thought, dark-haired and dark-eyed like her daughter. She had soft white skin and hard eyes, now empty of life.

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