“I'm pretty sure nothing's broken,” the EMT said. He had slit my blue jeans all the way to my hip, found a massive, technicolor bruise, but nothing else.
I was lying on a gurney in the back of an ambulance directly in front of St. Luke's. There were three ambulances at the scene with their EMT crews attending to the wedding guests but, miraculously, I was the most seriously injured person. My mad dash to the church door seemed to have prevented anyone from being murdered.
In addition to the ambulances, there were police cruisers and unmarked cars filling the street. As I swallowed four ibuprofen tablets and sipped some water, I noticed a short, stocky African American man in a gray suit walking toward me.
“Is that Jack Tyrrell?”
“Charlie Winfield? Did you catch this?”
He smiled, “I've always been lucky.” He put one foot up on the ambulance's bumper and leaned on his knee. “I haven't seen you since you were still in the Marshals, right?”
“Yeah. We were on a task force together about seven . . . eight years ago.”
“I heard you retired.”
“Took disability. I got shot.”
“Can't be too disabled―you did a hell of a thing saving these people.”
“Well, like you said, I've always been lucky.”
He checked with the EMT, “Is he strong enough for some questions?”
She smiled and nodded.
“Wanna run this down for me, please?” he asked, yanking a notepad out of his jacket pocket.
“Sure, I was walking uptown on Hudson . . . oh, crap, I just remembered something. Can I make a quick call?”
“Really? It's not like you need a lawyer.”
“No,” I grunted in laughter, “I have to call my . . . uh, girlfriend. We're supposed to meet―” I waved my hands at the scene outside the ambulance―“and thanks to this I'm going to be late.”
“Yeah,” he smiled. “Call her.”
I pulled my phone out of my jeans pocket and dialed Kim Gannon.
“Where are you?” she answered.
“Well, I've been . . . uh, unavoidably detained.”
“Oh, really? And how have you been detained?”
“I was walking past St. Luke's on Hudson, and there was a shooting―”
“Oh my God, are you hurt? Are you all right?”
“Yes, I have a few bumps and bruises. Nothing major.”
“Kim, I can't really go into all this at the moment. The detective in charge is already doing me a favor by letting me make this call―” Charlie smiled “―I wanted to let you know that I'll be late.” I glanced at my destroyed pant leg, “Actually, my pants got torn. I'm not properly dressed for anything other than a sidewalk hot dog stand.”
“I think you're going to tell me a fascinating story about all this when you get the chance.”
“Why don't I meet you there? Then we can go to your place, you can get some pants, and we can figure out what to do with our Saturday night.”
“Sounds like a plan. I'm in front of St. Luke in the Fields at Hudson and Grove.”
“I'll be there in about five minutes.”
“Perfect. I should be able to fabricate a really good story by then.”
“You're not as funny as you think you are.”
“But you like me anyway.”
“See you soon.” She disconnected before I could make another sarcastic remark.
I tucked the phone back into my pocket and said, “Thanks for letting me make the call.”
“No problem. Glad to hear you've got a relationship. That's good.”
“Very good.” I swallowed more water. “About the shooting, I don't really have a lot to tell. I was walking uptown, on the St. Luke's side of the street, on my way to meet my girlfriend. Sunlight glinted off of something on the roof of the Baptist church, and I knew it was a gun.
“The wedding party was about to emerge from the church, so I ran into it, screaming, waving my arms, acting like a mad man, yelling at everyone to get down, there's a gun. I got up the steps, waved the bride back inside, and bullets flew past me into the door. Three shots, I think.”
“Three shots,” Winfield agreed. “Then you ran across the street into the church, right?'
“You're not very bright, are you?”
I laughed in spite of myself, “Give me a break, Charlie, it was a heat of the moment thing.”
“Hmmm, heat of the moment. Okay. What then?”
“Once inside the church, heard footsteps running down stairs someplace, but I couldn't figure out where, then I heard a heavy door open and shut. It was that heavy sound of an emergency latch. I figured the shooter went out on the Grove Street side. I was closer to the Hudson Street entrance and ran out of the church that way.”
“And then chased the shooter, against the traffic, down Hudson, until a car bumped you.”
“Hey, it was a good-sized car.”
“It was a Honda.”
“A Honda Pilot, an SUV, not some tiny Civic.”
“Of course, it was,” he replied with a complete lack of concern for my well being. “Anyway, you got hit by the car, and the shooter got away. Right?”
“That's about it.”
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