ill Trombetta knew something was wrong. The two guys in the mega-home repair store were up to no good. His instincts were refined from all his years as a military police officer, New York City street cop and recently promoted detective. He knew bad guys when he saw them and his mind began to race as he wondered what they were up to.
Instinctively he patted his ribcage, felt for his gun and muttered, “Damn, I’m in trouble.”
Trombetta was off-duty and had intentionally locked his gun in the glove compartment of his car. He’d run into the store to buy a few items for a small backyard project. Now, unarmed, he knew what he needed to do. “Let me go to the sheet metal department. I can get a couple of pieces of metal to make a shield for protection.”
The seasoned cop walked quickly to aisle seven. He glanced back and saw the suspicious guys waiting at the cash register. “I don’t know what’s up with these guys, but I have to do something. What a bad time to be without my gun.”
He pulled out his phone as he walked along aisle seven and texted his buddy Detective McClellan. “Mac, send some squad cars to Grills, Pools, Garden & Yard, the home repair store in the West Village. I don’t have my weapon on me; it’s in my car. There’s a pair of bad guys here: white males, both in their mid-20’s. I don’t know what they are up to.”
The veteran cop’s suspicions were well-founded. What he didn’t know was the guys were assassins, and he was their target. He just knew that his instincts were on fire. He texted his partner again. “Hurry up, Mac. Send help now.”
In the sheet metal aisle Trombetta spotted what he needed, a row of iron slabs. He found a small one that he could use as a chest-plate, and eyed a larger piece.
“If I can get a couple of suction hand grips, this one will make a good armored shield and help me stop these guys,” he whispered to himself.
Trombetta grabbed the two iron slabs and scooted his cart two aisles down where he found a package of hand grips and ripped it open. He stuck the small slab of metal in his shirt; covered his chest and heart. “It’s uncomfortable but should do the trick,” he said to himself.
His partner McClellan hung up and immediately called the West Village police precinct. “We’ve got a situation. Officer is in distress. Send a unit right away. Officer Bill Trombetta is at Grills, Pools, Garden & Yard in the West Village. Send patrol cars there now. He just texted me and reported that there are two bad guys in the store. We need to get there right away.”
The dispatcher immediately put out a distress call, “All available units head to Grills, Pools, Garden & Yard in the West Village.”
Two minutes later, a fleet of patrol cars with sirens blaring entered the parking lot just as Trombetta was affixing the hand grips to his shield. The bad guys heard the patrol cars, peeked outside, and the taller of the two said, “We can’t wait for him to go outside. I saw him go down aisle five; let’s get him now. Take two kill shots, and let’s run out of the back entrance and get on the subway.”
Trombetta kept a watch on the two men, and when they began walking towards him and flashed their guns, knew immediately why they were in the store.
The two gunmen opened fire. Trombetta didn’t get his shield up in time and took a shot to the shoulder. Another, a head wound that creased his ear. The rest of the shots ricocheted off the shield.
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