Chapter 12 The aftermath
He looked at his cell phone and noted the call was terminated. He immediately called John and told him. “Shots were fired, but none hit my window or my house that I could tell and I am on the floor, waiting for the police.” Just at that moment the sound of sirens could be heard and Dean said: “I hear the sirens now. I better call mom. I'll see you when you get here, bye!” Dean then called his mom and told her he was alright but shots were fired and he really didn't know anything yet. She told him she was leaving work as she was speaking and would be home soon.
Dean finally heard the doorbell and decided to go peek out through the front door and saw it was detective Jack Turner and opened the door to admit him. All the sirens were turned off and the neighbors were beginning to peek out of their houses and again being held back by some officers. The detective was on his phone and was listening intently, interrupting only to ask, “it was?” Then he told the other party, “Ok, when I get the Warner's assembled we will come over and you can tell the whole story just once while the duty officer records it.” He then switched off his phone and turned to Dean.
“How you doing Dean?”
“A little shellshocked, but okay I guess” he replied.
“Are your mom and boyfriend on the way” the detective inquired?
“Yeah, they should be here in a few more minutes.”
Short thereafter, first John and then Debbie arrived. Both were glad to see Dean sitting comfortably on the sofa talking to the detective and joined them. He asked Dean to provide a full statement of what happened from his perspective which was recorded by the duty officer that accompanied the detective.
“We are going next door later to hear the full report from the officers who were staked out there. That report will also be recorded by the duty officer for transcription and later approval by them. If you are ready, we can see if the ruckus outside has died down a bit and see if we can get over there without too much notice. The outside lights next door had been shut down and most of the police who had arrived were leaving in their units when Turner checked out what was going on. “Let's give it several more minutes” he said.
Debbie said “well that can be enough time for me to make a pot of coffee and we can take it over with some cups. It might be appreciated.” With that, she headed for the kitchen.
Dean said, “I need to use the bathroom and also get dressed, at least put on a shirt.” He was still wearing his khaki dress Dockers, but had started to undress when he entered his room earlier and was not wearing his shirt.
A while later, they all made the trek next door. The block was quiet again only about ninety minutes after the police had initially arrived. It was past three-thirty in the morning however. Dean wondered if the neighborhood was getting used to these late night escapades.
Jack Turner introduced everyone and identified the two policemen that were now the Warner's neighbors as Bob Denton and Mike Flint. After everyone was settled at the dining room table with coffee and the recorder set up, they began their statement. They started by describing how they surveyed the house and the suspected avenues of approach by anyone trying to shoot Dean at night in his room. The house they were living in was a two story with an attic with a steep sloping roof. Windows were in each of the eaves on the sides of the house and towards the back there were half moon shaped, small dormer type windows to let natural light into the attic. They had mounted a three million max power flood/search light in each dormer window and aimed them at the likely areas to the rear of the houses and into the park. These were remotely controlled by them as they took up positions on the second floor looking out the windows also facing the park in the rear. The room with one of the windows to the rear, also had window to the side facing the Warner house so they could see when a light was switched on in Dean's room.
Dean listened intently and could never remember seeing any light from that upper story window, even when Mr. Weiss lived there, but he kept his thought to himself as he listened to the statement.
The officers went on that they kept close tabs on Dean and had attached a GPS tracking device to both his and his mom's cars as well as John's car. They were convinced that the main threat was at the Warner house because of the easy access and escape route through the park which was tried and true in the mind of the shooter.
The officers then detailed the equipment they installed in the rooms looking out the back of the house on the second floor including communications equipment, computers, night vision equipment, infra red detectors, listening equipment and their sniper rifles with scopes. The men said the rifles were essentially police versions of the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle they used while in the military.
Every time they saw Dean enter his room with or without the light turned on, whether dawn, daytime, dusk or night time they were on the lookout for the shooter. It essentially meant the men hardly ever left the upstairs room unless they knew Dean was out.
Dean squirmed as he realized he was under such tight surveillance in his own house and bedroom. He wondered just what kind of image the infra-red detectors provided and how sensitive the listening equipment was, and then blushed but again kept quiet.
The men continued that shortly after two this morning that Dean was retiring for the night after having come home from a date and went to his bedroom and switched on a light. They were watching to the rear and to their amazement they saw a figure stand up and start to point a weapon. At that point Bob telephoned Dean as he pushed the remote control to light up the spotlights. Mike took aim at the shooter who swiveled his weapon and proceeded to shoot out one of the spot lights and then as he swiveled his weapon back towards the Warner household both Mike and Bob who had grabbed his weapon by then shot the shooter who was knocked over backwards and was floundering around. They both ran downstairs and outside to see the shooter raise his rifle in his other hand and point it at them as they approached. Bob, weapon at ready, shot the man. When they got to the shooter they could see that the intial shots had hit the man exactly where they intended. Bob had shot the man in his left knee, which was essentially shattered. Mike had shot the right handed man in the right shoulder which rendered his right arm useless. The force of the gunshots had knocked the man down and if he had stayed down, they might have arrested him for questioning. But as he raised his weapon in his other hand toward them, Bob had shot him right through the forehead, blowing out the back of his skull.
The men looked at Dean, his mom and boyfriend and apologized for the graphic details but that it was needed for the report. Debbie looked like she had swallowed something that made her sick. Dean just looked shocked and John tried to remain impassive, but looked like he had a question. The officer said “what's your question?”
John said “why were you amazed that the shooter stood up?”
Mike replied, “we had a lot of assets trained out that way to detect movement or sound and we did not have any indication he had gotten that close until he stood up. The man must of slowly low crawled five or six hundred feet and done it in complete silence to get that close. It scared the hell out of us. We think he must have been professionally trained. We asked the evidence and forensic people to get his fingerprints and run them to see if your shooter was trained in the military. If so, that will identify him and we may be able to get a better handle on who was behind the killing of Mr. Weiss as well.”
Bob then turned to Dean and said: “You are one really lucky guy. All signs show a professional killer had you in his sights and you survived through a combination of luck and quick use of your cell phone. Your worries should be over now as the shooter is dead. Unfortunately, it looks like we will be staying here for a while as we have had to turn over our weapons and badges because of the death of the shooter until an official investigation determines we took appropriate action.”
Jack Turner said “it's routine police procedure whenever an officer fires his weapon and someone is killed.”
Debbie just sat their taking it all in and wondered if they would ever be able to forget or move on from this episode. She looked at Dean and John and decided that they would be alright. She then thought of Dean moving on campus more than an hour away in just a few weeks and a plan began to form in her mind.
A short time later they gathered up the cups and coffee pot and decided to head back home. Dean asked John if he could spend what little remained of the night and apologized he just had a double bed and it might be a little cozy. John smiled “we can make do.”
They went to bed just as the sky was beginning to get light.
On Saturday, they slept in past noon. Debbie was up first and she showered and made a pot of coffee and some toast. A little after one-thirty, first John and then Dean appeared wearing some sweats that were cut off and tee shirts. They helped themselves to coffee and each had some cold cereal. Dean turned on the television and turned to the local all news channel which was of course talking non-stop about the case. As they watched they saw the video pan and their house came into view. Just as they recognized it, the doorbell rang.
John's cell phone started ringing as the doorbell rang again. John answered it and listened and then said “yes sir.” He listened some more and said “okay, I'll take care of it” and turned his phone off. He looked at Debbie and Dean and said, “dad called and said it is the press at the door and that you two should stay away from the door while I go and ask them to leave.” Debbie and Dean exchanged looks and nodded and John got up and went into the family room and opened the front door. A man with a microphone thrust it into his face and asked for a statement. Upon seeing that it was not Dean Warner, he asked for Dean Warner or his mother.
John stood up straight and sort of motioned the man back a step or two as he exited the house and closed the door. He stood on the porch and faced the camera and said: “I am an attorney for the Warner's. My name is John Trask, the third and I have been asked to tell you that the Warner's are doing fine, but it has been a harrowing night and for that matter a stressful couple of weeks. They would like to get back to their ordinary lives and ask that you respect their privacy. They have been instructed by the police to not make any statements to the public until the matter has been fully investigated. Our firm has advised them against making any statement unless it is cleared by the authorities. For information about what has happened, you should only rely on official information from the police department.”
John made to turn around but was immediately questioned by the reporter “were you here when the gunman was killed?”
John faced the camera once more, “let me reiterate, there will be no public statement about what happened except from the proper police authorities. I am now asking you to leave. Should you not cooperate I will pull out my cell phone and ask for police assistance to remove trespassers.”
Realizing that nothing further would be obtained, the reporter turned to the camera and said, “this is Drew Daniels with the latest from the scene on North Ash Drive. Now back to our studios.” With that the reporter gave John a hard glare and marched off toward the television van. John turned and entered the house.
Dean and Debbie had watched the whole thing on television as it was broadcast live. Dean smiled at John as he came back into the kitchen and quipped “you sure looked professional in a tee shirt and cut off sweat pants!”
John gave Dean a sigh and said, “my dad will never let me hear the end of it. Please don't you start too. You are the one who loaned me this get up when I got out of your shower a short while ago. I had no idea that I'd be facing a television camera.”
They turned the television off and continued to talk about the press and about fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rang again. John looked at Dean and Debbie and said “I'll get it” and went to the door and looked out through the peep hole and saw it was Mike and Bob from next door. He opened the door and asked them to come in and quickly closed the door behind them as he did not want to draw any attention to the Warner house. He showed Mike and Bob into the kitchen and they were greeted by Dean and Debbie. Debbie asked if they wanted some coffee and they both readily assented. After they were served and the rest had their cups replenished, they all sat around the table to talk.
Bob and Mike said they saw the TV crew and were worried that the reporter might come to their house with questions but the TV van left as they were apparently unaware of their involvement. They watched John's statement and indicated that he handled it just right. Neither John nor the Warners mentioned that John's dad had called with instructions. They also asked about the house they were living in and what the asking rate was for renting it as they had learned that John's firm represented the estate of Mr. Weiss.
John made a call and found out it was being expensed at $900 per month while the investigation was ongoing and he thought it would be the same after it ended. John also told them it was a lousy housing market that appeared to be on the brink of getting worse and that he doubted the house would be sold anytime soon.
Mike and Bob explained that while they had both been in the military, they had never met or served together and only met through the county department when they were hired about a year ago after each had gone through different police academies. Prior to moving in next door, each had rented a small one bedroom apartment for $450 per month and together $900 was within their budgets. They explained that they had a lot of time on their hands during the period of the surveillance and had really gotten to know each other and liked each other. They found out they shared the same taste in music, food and interests in sports. In short, they liked living together and had become best friends as well as co-workers.
Dean looked at the two policeman and again vaguely wondered if they were gay. He noted they did not act gay, or stare at each other like he did at John, nor did they display any overt signs of affection. However, he did note that they appeared very comfortable with each other and would jump in while the other was talking to complete a thought or expand on it. As if on cue, Bob said “do you think they will charge more if we get a dog?” Mike jumped in “even so, as long as it's not too much, we will get one anyway. We both really like them and with apartments it is not feasible, but this house has a big back yard and a whole park beyond that.”
John said “I'll check it all out Monday and can probably bring a lease agreement by for you guys to sign that afternoon.”
Bob and Mike looked ecstatic and high-fived each other as well as Dean and John.
Debbie said “wait a minute, I was going to ask the boys to go with me to the animal rescue center to pick out a dog today!”
“No way mom, you always told me a dog was too much work and that you didn't have time or the patience for one!”
“Well I also had you to raise, a full-time job to hold down, and I didn't have any help. Now that you are going off to the university, I thought I'd get a nice sweet Rotweiler to take your place. I figure it will be half the work and more company as it won't always be running off on dates, unless it goes for the new dog next door.”
“We will help you train it” said Bob glancing at Mike for confirmation.
“Geeez! I always wanted a dog and have to leave home to get one” Dean bemoaned.
Soon after they decided to all go to the rescue center and see what they could find. When they got there, they were shown into an area with dog pens all around and a just a couple of people looking around. Their group of five was soon noticed by the dogs and the noise level went up. Dean watched Bob and Mike going from pen to pen looking at the dogs and pointing out things about ones that caught their attention. Dean's mom meanwhile was stuck in front of a smaller pen with a couple of shelties in it. She was reading the information about the animals and noted these animals were excitable and loved to run and tried to herd everything, sometimes even cars. They were good if raised with children from a young age, but not so good with pre-schooler's or elementery age children otherwise. These dogs were both sable and white and one was two that past spring and the other was three. They were both paying close attention to Debbie and looking very excited. She got the attendant to let her into the pen and both dogs acted very glad to see her. Dean came in and they regarded him a little at a distance but then warmed up as Debbie was petting one and had Dean come over. The other one immediatedly tried to monopolize Debbie's attention as Dean played with the other one. Both were females and had been spayed. They did not have papers but appeared to be purebreds. Debbie thought the one with the white collar marking that went all the way around was the better behaved and less flighty than the one without the distinctive marking. Dean loved them both and would have taken either or both and told his mom that. She indicated one dog was as much as she was prepared to handle. John came into the pen with them and immediately made up with the dog with the distinctive marking while the other one ran around and barked at him.
Meanwhile, Bob and Mike were looking at the Golden retrieve mixes as well as a German Shepherd and even a Rotweiler. It was evident they wanted a bigger dog and one they could take on their morning runs.
Shortly, Debbie was paying her fees and buying stuff at the in-house pet store including a leash, a medium sized wire pen for inside, a dog bed, dog food, dog dish, water dish, pills for heartworm prevention, flea and tick medicine and a fancy collar. The Vet fees included all shots to include the rabies vaccination and the county license fees. She was just finished writing the check when Dean and John finished loading her car which she had brought separately and had the dog on the brand new leash with her new collar. Since she didn't know how the dog would ride in the car, she asked Dean to accompany her back to the house so he could hold onto the dog while she drove. The guys had all come in John's car and he said he would take Mike and Bob home when they were ready.
On the ride home, Dean asked his mom what they were going to call the dog. Debbie indicated the dog was already named Sadie but the attendant told her they could change it and the dog was smart and would catch on to any new name they wanted with no problem. Dean muttered the name and then said it out loud. Sadie turned to him and reached up and licked his face. “I kind of like the name” and laughed. Debbie glanced sideways at them and smiled “I do too!”
The Warner house had a small fenced in area around the patio and behind the single car garage from when Dean was little. The gate needed adjusting as it had been propped open for the last several years, but it was a small chore and they had a ready made area to confine the dog. Dean had taken her there as soon as they got home as he thought she might be nervous and needed to go. She was and she did. She checked out the border along the fence of her new play yard and then went to the far corner and christened it by taking a dump. Dean and Debbie watched and he asked “did you get a pooper scooper?”
“No we have a couple of small shovels in the garage that will serve just as well and I was trying to keep the cost down.” They took her in the house and she curled up on the rug in front of the couch like she was staking out her territory. Dean laughed and got the stuff from the car and set up her watering dish. She came when he put it down and drank like it was about time. Sadie was a chipper and happy seeming dog and she especially liked to be scratched behind her ears. Dean noticed a small mat of hair and asked his mom if she got a grooming brush and stuff. Debbie shook her head no but said, “I do know that one of the aides at work grooms dogs on the side and I think I will be contacting her. At least I know Sadie rides well in the car and doesn't jump around and bark or get carsick!”
They were still settling in with Sadie when they heard John's car pull up and the three men got out with a German Shepherd. Mother and son left Sadie inside and went out to greet them and were introduced to Max. He was a seven month old dog who had grown to almost his full size and had been turned over the to shelter because he was too rough with the young children in the family that got him as a puppy. To Max it was just puppy play, but it was too much for the little boy and girl in the family and evidently, the parent's had not known how nor had the time to train the dog or supervise it with their children. Max followed every movement and word that Bob or Mike made or uttered. They were likewise taken with the animal and soon made their good-byes and gathered the stuff they bought and took Max home.
Debbie suggested to Dean and John that they order take-out for supper and the guys agreed on Chinese. Dean called in their order and said they would pick it up. They ordered chicken, pork and shrimp dishes together with crab Rangoon and also sides of dirty rice and vegetables. They were going to put it out and eat it buffet style sampling some of each. Twenty minutes later Dean and John were at the little take-out counter and picked up their food. Less than ten minutes after that they were back in the Warner kitchen digging in to the spread. Sadie was watching them closely. She did not beg, but you could see she was playing close attention and her tail was wagging slowly from side to side and every so often she licked her mouth.
John noticed her first, then Debbie and finally Dean. Sadie was sitting quietly off to the side never taking her eyes off the feeding frenzy in front of her, apparently waiting her turn.