Books & Badges – Chapter Thirty


As soon as Russell got into the station, he headed down to the basement. He knocked on the open door to the lab. “Ellie? You good to answer a couple questions for me?”

“Of course.” Ellie lifted her head, a smile coming to her face. “How’re you doing this morning, Russ?”

“I’m fine.” He cleared his throat. “You have anything on the gun that was used?”

“Yeah. It’s… two guns. One is a revolver.” Ellie held out several pieces of paper. Russell crossed the room, accepting them without complaint. “It’s a Smith and Wesson five hundred. Which… before I really looked at the bullets and identified two weapons, struck me as a strange choice.”

Russell’s brow furrowed. “Because it only holds five bullets.”


“It’s also a damn powerful gun. How the fuck did Vince k-keep…” Russell closed his eyes for a moment. “How did he keep going after the first shot?”

“That’s where the use of two guns comes into play. Two of the bullets belong to a thirty-two caliber ACP. Those would’ve come first. Based on the wounds, it appears that… the first shot from the Smith and Wesson took him down. The second and third were delivered when he was already on the ground.”

After a moment, Russell forced himself to nod. “Did you manage to get a height on the killer?”

“Assuming that the gun was held out in front of the shooter rather than at his hip–he’d have to be pretty damn tall for that one to be possible–he’s between six-foot and six-foot-two.”

Russell nodded, flipping through the papers in his hands simply to give himself something to do. Lauren’s shooter had been estimated to be between six-foot and six-foot-two. “Either of these guns match any other crime scenes?”

“No, and the shooter doesn’t own them legally, either. Both guns were reported stolen last month within six days of each other. The Smith and Wesson from Texas, and the ACP from Minnesota.”

Russell hadn’t gotten that far in Lauren’s case file yet. He made a mental note to check if there had been more than one gun had been used in Lauren’s shooting and if the weapon or weapons had been stolen.

“All right. Thank you. Umm… just one more question, I think.”

“Of course.”

“Did Vince have his phone on him?” Russell asked.

“Yeah. I’ve got it bagged. Would you like to look at it?”

“I’d love to.”

Ellie bent down and grabbed the phone from the evidence box on the floor. “I’ve already checked it for prints and DNA. It’s just Vincce’s. You can take it out of the bag without gloves if you need to.”

Russell grabbed the bag from her, setting the papers down on the counter. “Thank you.”

“Of course. I’m going to work on my notes, but if you need anything, let me know. Okay?”

Russell nodded and leaned back against the counter. As Ellie went back to work, he opened the evidence bag and pulled out Vince’s phone. He unlocked it, for once finding himself thankful that Vince had always refused to put a passcode on the damn thing. He opened up the health app and switched over to the map tracker portion of it. Though Vince had never cared to know how far he walked, how many steps he had taken, or what his route looked like, the app was pre-built into his phone, incapable of being uninstalled.

He scrolled back to Sunday night. Vince had followed his usual route for his late night jogs, with only one variation. He had gone to the gas station on his way back home. He detoured a block and a half so he could stop at the gas station.

But why?


Seated in his car so no one could see what he was working on, Russell flipped through Lauren’s case file. He couldn’t be certain of what would happen if anyone other than Emelia found out he was digging around in his late partner’s case, but he had a feeling he knew the consequences.

His lieutenant would take him off Vince’s case and put him on temporary leave. Hell, he’d probably get sent back to mandatory therapy, too. Russell had no issue with therapy, but it was a little less effective for him when it was superior mandated.

Lauren had been shot with only one weapon, a nine millimeter Glock 17 Gen5. “Aww, shit,” Russell whispered. He had expected to feel better that the gun in Lauren’s homicide had been stolen, but it was quite the opposite.

So many damn details matched up, and if it was the same guy, his initial cooldown period had finally been set. Eleven months. If there had been eleven months between the first and second kills, how much quicker would he move before he felt comfortable enough to jump on kill number three?

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