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Trouble on Temple Street: An Officer Ellie Rush Mystery

Chapter 5

You can get the wrong idea from TV police shows. Officers discharge their weapons multiple times in every episode, when the truth is, most of us never fire our guns in the line of duty, even in a big city like Los Angeles. And for homicide detectives like my boyfriend, Cortez Williams, and especially bicycle cops like me, our guns will only get action at the firing range.

So to hear that an officer is down, only a few blocks from where we are in Pershing Square, is a big deal. My partner, Johnny Mayhew, is a champion BMX rider, but I’m keeping pace with him as we weave through cars on Sixth Street. Sirens blast in front of us and by the time we reach the 2ibon headquarters, an ambulance has already arrived. Our colleagues in the Central Division are also on the scene; there are already three black-and-white squad cars blocking the street. Yup, this is a commuter’s nightmare.

“You and Mayhew secure the perimeter and keep the public out of here. And don’t let anyone leave the building,” my CO, Tim Cherniss, says.

I nod, but am disappointed. I want to go inside and find out what’s happening. Who is the officer who got hit? And is he or she still alive? Johnny hangs some yellow crime tape from the stair railings and then takes his position on the south side while I’m on the north.

A woman about my age with frizzy blonde hair immediately approaches me. “I need to get in there. My girlfriend went in there an hour ago to talk with the COO. She won’t respond to my texts.”

Her friends stand behind her, carrying signs that state, “2ibon = Sexual Predators” and “2ibon Hates Women.” I’m quickly getting the feeling that this meeting was not that friendly.

“What happened in there?” a woman, carrying a sign with the image of an axe through the 2ibon logo, asks. “We heard that there was some kind of shooting.”

It’s amazing how fast bad news travels.

“I don’t know any of the details,” I tell them honestly. “We’ll all have to wait until the detectives make their investigation.”

That doesn’t satisfy the group of women, but they back off because they figure out that I’m just a loser bicycle cop.

While I stand there feeling stupid with my bike, I glance at my phone. Ever since discovering the fatally stabbed body of the image board’s founder, Atom McDonnell, last night, I haven’t done much research on the company itself. What’s high on Google News—aside from Atom’s death—are posts that 2ibon will be going public soon, in the next few weeks. Also, celebrities whose naked photos were leaked are filing a lawsuit.

I quickly tap my screen to see who the COO is. A guy, of course, Rowan James. I find a photo of him. He’s good looking with a head of curly hair, maybe mixed race. He apparently joined the company recently, two months ago. He came from the nonprofit sector, which, I guess, isn’t that unusual. Even my ex-boyfriend, Benjamin Choi, has gone private sector after working with at-risk kids. He now tells grocery stores and office chains where to open their new outlets. He justifies it by saying that he’s helping urban neighborhoods to get access to fresh foods and jobs. Yeah, right, Benjamin, I think. When I joined the force, he was always on my case. But when he makes this move, I’m supposed to respond yes to his current girlfriend’s evite to his congratulations party?

I need to get my head back into work, because I don’t even notice a middle-aged woman in a business suit almost cross over the crime tape.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I call out to her. “The premises here are closed.”

The woman frowns, lines crowding her forehead. “I need to get into 2ibon. I’m the COO’s attorney,” she says.

“There’s not going to be any meetings today. There’s been a shooting on the premises.”

“I know that,” the attorney looks at me as if I’m pond scum, or even lower than that. “That’s why I’m here. I don’t want the police questioning my client without my presence.”

So the COO was the shooter?

I call my commanding officer and he tells me to let her in. As the lawyer is escorted into the building by a patrol officer, the frizzy-haired woman is at my side again. “So why does she get to go in and I don’t.”

“It’s because you don’t wear high heels and have money,” the woman with the axe sign adds.

“It’s not that,” I tell them. “She has a legal reason to enter the building.”

“You people use legal justifications when it suits you,” the axe girl says. “But when it involves the illegal seizures of our e-mails by this sexual terrorist, 2ibon, we hear nothing. You do nothing.”

I have no idea what this woman is saying.

The doors of the building then burst open and paramedics are carrying someone on a gurney down the stairs. Thank God the person is still alive, or else the coroner would be called in. The crowd thickens, the women with the signs pushes in closer and I have to lower my voice a couple of octaves to command any kind of attention.

“Oh, it’s not Gwendolyn,” the girl with the frizzy hair says and she stifles a cry.

I finally glance at the body tied down on the gurney and being lifted into the ambulance. No, it’s not anyone named Gwendolyn or a woman, for that matter. It’s a homicide detective, a black male, and the love of my life, Cortez Williams.

Chapter 6 >>

 

© 2017 Naomi Hirahara

Ellie Rush fiction little tokyo mystery naomi hirahara Trouble on Temple Street

About this series

LAPD bicycle cop Ellie Rush, first introduced in Murder on Bamboo Lane (Berkley, 2014), returns in this special serial for Discover Nikkei.

Ellie, who has been on the force for two years, finds herself in the middle of a Little Tokyo murder case that may potentially involve the people she loves most—her family. Will she be able to connect the dots before the killer harms her aunt, the deputy chief of the LAPD? Where does Ellie’s allegiances fall—the truth or family loyalty?

Read Chapter One