The Ranch House

LAPD_Police_Car_Side_View_by_EVOV1

 

By Jim Weaver

 

[West Los Angeles Division – “Bel Air, 1980’s”]

It was a cold Saturday night in November, My partner Larry Gardner and I were enjoying a cup of coffee and donuts at “Arnie’s,” located at Santa Monica Boulevard and Bundy Drive. I was listening to “Walk of Life” coming from the vehicle parked next to us. The blonde driver was flirting with Larry; business as usual for him.

“Eight-Adam-three, thirteen, and twenty-one meet Eight-L-Twenty at Sunset and Bel Air Road, Code two.”

“Larry, listen up, we just got a call.”

We knew it must be serious as two other units were dispatched to Twenty’s location besides us. Without saying a word we emptied our coffees on the pavement.

Kicking over the V8, I accelerated out of the parking lot and sped to the meeting place. A few minutes later we pulled into the parking lot next to 8-L-20 Sergeant Jesse Escobar.

Escobar climbed out of his Black and White, as usual his hair was perfectly styled, his uniform looked like it’d just been pressed, his two-toned badge gleamed, and his black shoes shone like glass, even under the dim overhead light. I’d known Escobar for several years; he was known as a policeman’s sergeant.  We were lucky to have him. as the three-striper was going up the LAPD ladder.

Shortly, we were joined by the two other assigned units.

“Guys we have a real situation. so pay attention.” The sergeant laid out a hand-drawn map of a residence located at 2 Benedict Canyon Drive.

“We recently received information that a possible shooting occurred at that location, we’ve got nothing more. So let’s get over there and have a look.  We’ll park farther down the street and move in on foot.  Turn your radios and headlights off before we get there. Any questions?”

As we followed Sergeant Escobar’s black-and-white station wagon, we were silent, lost in our own thoughts. I wondered what we would run into. I had a real uneasy feeling about this one.

When we parked in tandem and were on foot, Escobar once again pulled out the map. Using his flashlight, he ordered the others to the four corners of the house.

Why did he leave me out?

Escobar then focused on me. “You and I will take the house.”

After the other officers were in position, Escobar said in a low voice, “Let’s do it, Jim.”

We quietly moved to the rear of the house, where a light could be seen. A closer look determined it came from a laundry room hallway.

Sergeant Escobar tried the screen door. Unlocked.

I followed as he crept cautiously down the dimly lit hallway, past the laundry room and toward a room where the light was bright. It was the kitchen.

Escobar peered into the kitchen and then he looked back at me. He held up one finger and then pointed it down.

I knew that meant one down. Escobar stepped into the kitchen. I followed on his heels. I spotted the lifeles,s half-open eyes of a female staring up at me. The dead woman was lying in a huge pool of blood that almost covered the entire tile floor. I could clearly see powder burns on her bare breasts and stomach.

Quickly looking about, I could see blood all over the kitchen walls, ceiling, refrigerator, stove, and cabinets.

I stepped over her and felt my shoe soles picking up a sticky substance. Blood.

I spied Escobar in the living room hand motioning for me to go to the left as he was going to the right.

OK, I signaled back with a head nod.

He disappeared into the darkened next room.

I slowly moved down the partially lit hallway. Almost immediately, I spotted a body lying in the middle of the hallway ahead of me. As I approached I could now see it was another female. One half-open lifeless eye stared into space. A contact wound had blown out her left eye.

I stepped over her body, wondering what the hell was next?

Seeing a lighted room ahead, I crept forward and peeked around the open doorway. I saw a leatherette recliner chair with a human arm hanging over the side facing me.

I eased up to the chair and gave it a swift kick to surprise whoever was seated on it.

The chair swiveled to the left, and a male slumped forward and onto the floor. His clothed body ended up on his knees as if he was praying. A large collection of coagulated blood stained his back. It appeared to be an exit wound from a large caliber firearm.

I was startled when Escobar, in a calm voice said, “The rest of the house is clear. Looks like we will need the detectives for this one,” he continued.

He went outside and released the other two units.

My partner and I secured the scene. Several hours later the detectives arrived and began their investigation.

The coroner’s deputies later drove up. After they scanned the scene, they took the bodies and transported them downtown to the Coroner’s office. They would join other corpses awaiting autopsies.

Released from the scene I turned to Larry. “Hey pard, we still have time for Code Seven before EOW. (End-of-Watch.)”

 

About jesswaid

Currently, I write police procedural novels with the stories taking place in Hollywood during the early 1960s; a period when I was a street cop there. I've moved to Mexico to be closer to my hobby of studying Mexican history. My friend and fellow author, Professor Michael Hogan, is my mentor. I am planning to write a three-part epic story that takes place in the mid-nineteenth century. What has inspired me was hearing about Los Ninos Heroes, martyrs of the Battle of Chapultepec. Also, my father was born in Concordia, Mexico and knowing his family history is an added incentive.

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