Книга EchoPark. Страница 56
They searched and cleared the parking lot quickly, coming to the coroner’s van last. It was unlocked and empty. But in the back Bosch found an orange jail-issue jumpsuit on the floor. Waits had either been wearing another set of clothes beneath the jumpsuit, or he had found clothes to change into in the back of the van.
“Be careful,” Bosch announced to the others. “He could be wearing anything. Stay close to me. I know what he looks like.”
In a tight formation they moved into the store through the automatic doors at the front. Once inside, Bosch quickly realized that they were too late. A man with a manager’s tag on his shirt was consoling a woman who was crying hysterically and holding the side of her face. The manager saw the two uniforms and signaled them over. He didn’t even seem to notice all the mud and blood on Bosch’s clothes.
“We’re the ones who called,” the manager said. “Mrs. Shelton here just got carjacked.”
Mrs. Shelton nodded tearfully.
“Can you give us a description of your car and what the man who did this was wearing?” Bosch asked.
“I think so,” she whined.
“Okay, listen,” Bosch said to the two officers. “One of you stays here, gets the description of what he’s wearing and the car and puts it out on the air. The other leaves now and gets me to St. Joe’s. Let’s go.”
The driver took Bosch, and the other patrolman stayed behind. In another three minutes they came screeching out of Beachwood Canyon and were moving toward the Cahuenga Pass. On the radio they heard a BOLO broadcast for a silver BMW 540 wanted in connection with a 187 LEO-murder of a law enforcement officer. The suspect was described as wearing a baggy white jumpsuit, and Bosch knew he had found the change of clothes in the back of the Forensics van.
The siren was clearing a path for them but Bosch estimated that they were still fifteen minutes away from the hospital. He had a bad feeling about it. He had a bad feeling about everything. He didn’t think that they were going to get there in time. He tried to push that thought out of his mind. He tried to think about Kiz Rider alive and well and smiling at him, scolding him the way she always did. And when they got to the freeway, he concentrated on scanning all eight lanes of northbound traffic, looking for a carjacked silver BMW with a killer at the wheel.
BOSCH STRODE THROUGH the emergency room entrance with his badge out. An intake receptionist sat behind a counter, taking information from a man huddled over on a chair in front of her. When Bosch came close he saw that the man was cradling his left arm like a baby. The wrist was bent at an unnatural angle.
“The police officer who was brought in on a medevac?” he said, not caring about interrupting.
“I have no information, sir,” the desk woman said. “If you’ll take-”
“Where can I get information? Where’s the doctor?”
“The doctor is with the patient, sir. If I asked him to come out to speak to you, then he wouldn’t be taking care of the officer, would he?”
“Then, she’s still alive?”
“Sir, I can’t give out any information at this time. If you’ll-”
Bosch walked away from the counter and over to a set of double doors. He pushed a button on the wall that automatically swung them open. Behind him he heard the desk woman yelling to him. He didn’t stop. He stepped through the doors into the emergency treatment area. There were eight curtained patient bays, four on each side of the room, and the nurses’ and physicians’ stations were in the middle. The place was abuzz. Outside a patient bay on the right Bosch saw one of the paramedics from the helicopter. He went to him.
“How is she?”
“She’s holding on. She lost a lot of blood and-”
He stopped when he turned and saw that it was Bosch next to him.
“I’m not sure you’re supposed to be in here, Officer. I think you better step out to the waiting room and-”
“She’s my partner and I want to know what is happening.”
“She’s got one of the best ER attendings in the city trying to keep her alive. My bet is that he will do just that. But you can’t stand here and watch.”
Bosch turned. A man in a private security uniform was approaching with the desk woman. Bosch held his hands up.
“I just want to be told what is happening.”
“Sir, you will have to come with me, please,” the guard said.
He put his hand on Bosch’s arm. Bosch shrugged it off.
“I’m a police detective. You don’t need to touch me. I just want to know what is happening with my partner.”
“Sir, you will be told all you need to know in good time. If you will please come-”
The guard made the mistake of attempting to take Bosch by the arm again. This time Bosch didn’t shrug it off. He slapped the man’s hand away.
“I said, don’t-”
“Hold on, hold on,” said the paramedic. “Tell you what, Detective, let’s go to the machines and get a coffee or something and I’ll tell you everything that’s happening with your partner, okay?”
Bosch didn’t answer. The paramedic sweetened the offer.
“I’ll even get you some clean scrubs so you can get out of those muddy and bloody clothes. Sound good?”
Bosch relented, the security man nodded his approval and the paramedic led the way, first to a supply closet where he looked at Bosch and guessed that he would need mediums. He pulled pale blue scrubs and booties off the shelves and handed them over. They then went down a hallway to the nurses’ break room, where there were coin-operated machines serving coffee, sodas and snacks. Bosch took a black coffee. He had no change but the paramedic did.
“You want to clean up and change first? You can use the lav right over there.”
“Just tell me what you know first.”
“Have a seat.”
They sat at a round table across from each other. The paramedic reached his hand across the table.
Bosch quickly shook his hand.
“Good to meet you, Detective Bosch. The first thing I need to do is thank you for your efforts out there in the mud. You and the others there probably saved your partner’s life. She lost a lot of blood but she’s a fighter. They’re putting her back together and hopefully she’ll be all right.”
“How bad is it?”
“It’s bad but it’s one of those cases where they won’t know until she stabilizes. The bullet hit one of her carotid arteries. That’s what they are working on now-getting her ready to take to the OR so they can repair the artery. Meantime, since she lost a lot of blood, the risk right now is stroke. So she’s not out of the woods yet, but if she avoids going into stroke she should come out of this okay. ‘Okay’ meaning alive and functioning with a lot of rehab ahead of her.”
“That’s the unofficial version. I’m not a doctor and I shouldn’t have told you any of that.”
Bosch felt his cell phone vibrating in his pocket but he ignored it.
“I appreciate that you did,” he said. “When will I be able to see her?”
“I have no idea, man. I just bring ’em in here. I told you all I know and that was probably too much. If you’re going to wait around I suggest you wash your face and change out of those clothes. You’re probably scaring people with the way you look.”
Bosch nodded and Dillon stood up. He had defused a potentially explosive ER situation and his work was done.
“No problemo. Take her easy and if you see the security guard, you might want to…”
He left it at that.
“I will,” Bosch said.
After the paramedic left, Bosch went into the lavatory and stripped off his sweatshirt. Because there were no pockets in the surgical clothes and no place for him to carry his weapon, phone, badge and other things, he decided to leave his dirty jeans on. He looked at himself in the mirror and saw that he had blood and dirt smeared on his face. He spent the next five minutes washing up, running the soap and water over his hands until he finally saw the water running clear into the drain.
When he stepped out of the lavatory he noticed that someone had come into the break room and either taken or thrown out his coffee. He checked his pockets again for change but still didn’t find any.
Bosch walked back to the ER reception area and now found it crowded with police, both uniformed and not. His supervisor, Abel Pratt, was there among the suits. He looked as though the blood had completely drained from his face. He saw Bosch and immediately came over.
“Harry, how is she? What happened?”
“They’re not giving me anything official. The paramedic who brought her in said it looks like she’ll be okay, unless something new happens.”
“Thank Christ! What happened up there?”
“I’m not sure. Waits got a gun and started shooting. Anything on whether they’ve got a bead on him?”
“He dumped the car he jacked by the Red Line station on Hollywood Boulevard. They don’t know where the fuck he is.”
Bosch thought about that. He knew that if Waits had gone underground on the Red Line, he could have gone anywhere from North Hollywood to downtown. The downtown line had a stop near Echo Park.
“Are they looking in Echo Park?”
“They’re looking everywhere, man. OIS is sending a team here to talk to you. I didn’t think you’d be willing to leave to go to Parker.”
“Well, you know how to handle it. Just tell it like it was.”
The Officer Involved Shooting squad would not be a problem. As far as Bosch could see he had not personally done anything wrong in the handling of Waits. OIS was a rubber-stamp squad, anyway.
“They’ll be a while,” Pratt said. “They’re up at Sunset Ranch right now interviewing the others. How the fuck did he get a gun?”
Bosch shook his head.
“Olivas got too close to him while he was coming up a ladder. He grabbed it then and started shooting. Olivas and Kiz were up top. It happened so fast and I was down below them.”
Pratt shook his head and Bosch knew he wanted to ask more questions about what had happened and how it could have happened. He was probably worried about his own situation as much as he was worried about Rider pulling through. Bosch decided he needed to tell him about the thing that could be a containment problem.
“He wasn’t cuffed,” he said in a low voice. “We had to take off the cuffs so he could go up a ladder. The cuffs were going to be off for thirty seconds at the max, and that’s when he made his move. Olivas let him get too close. That’s how it started.”