Although he was accustomed to the vast amount of paperwork involved in a criminal investigation, Carl was not prepared for the intricacy of the details required to describe his decision making and actions, between the moment Dale Reed had fired his shotgun and he had pulled his revolver from its holster and fired the two rounds that had terminated Dale Reed’s life.
When he was satisfied that he had completed the incident report, he worked on the separate report required to explain why he had discharged his firearm. Two hours after starting on his write up of the incident, he bundled his reports with the reports written by Constables Head and Priest, and sent them all to the Chief Inspector.
After submitting the reports to the Chief Inspector, Carl made his way to the Deputy Commissioner’s office, to face the interrogation required to satisfy Internal Affairs that he had fired his gun in self-defence. Carl was the only witness to the shooting but that didn’t mean they’d be taking his word for what happened. Fortunately, the sergeant from Crime Scene Investigations, also in attendance, confirmed that Dale Reed’s shotgun had been loaded when he had examined it.
Following the interrogation in the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Carl returned to his office to tie up loose ends and wait for the results of the DNA tests on the sample Mike Jonas had taken from Dale Reed’s body, and from the tests on the material extracted from the articles of women’s clothing found in Reed’s apartment. Although he knew that the evidence collected from Reed’s apartment pointed to him being the Morton Sands killer, Carl was aware they wouldn’t know for sure until Reed’s DNA profile had been determined, despite Kelly Downs having identified him as the man that had raped her.
Carl hoped the DNA analysis, when it finally became available, would simply confirm what he already knew, so that he could provide closure to the families of Melissa Keating, Darren Jackson and Karen Newhouse, and get on with his life.
A week after the shootings, the State buried Detective Constable Peter James.
The cathedral across the square from Police Headquarters was packed with people in uniform. The Commissioner read the eulogy. Carl was one of the pall-bearers. There was an honour guard of uniformed officers, as the hearse slowly made its way through the city streets to the cemetery. Thousands of people came to witness the spectacle and to pay their respects.
That night, Carl couldn’t sleep. Each time he closed his eyes and drifted towards sleep, the shooting replayed on the screen of his mind, in slow motion. More than once, he found himself staring at the ceiling, wishing he could shut down the replay of the memory but not succeeding.
He told himself it wasn’t his fault that Peter had been killed. It didn’t help.
He told himself that shooting an idiot like Reed was simply part of what the job required. That didn’t help either.
He told himself that if he hadn’t shot Reed the sicko would have shot him instead. That shut the voice up.
In the morning, he didn’t feel like facing another day in the office, alone. For the first time in more than ten years, he called in sick.
Despite his arguments with himself, Carl couldn’t shake the feeling that he was somehow responsible for Peter’s death or squash the guilt associated with the realisation that he had killed another human being.
Even telling himself that he’d done it in self-defence wasn’t working. He felt like shit on the inside.
He wanted a cigarette but couldn’t find one.
He didn’t have the energy to go out and buy one.
to be continued …