RAMPAGE – Part One (a short story by William DeSouza)

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Frustration and anger boiled over in Detective Kuan-Yin Lui as he pounded his fist on the desk. Papers, files and CD’s flew onto the floor as everyone in the small squad room jumped, startled by the outburst.

“Forty five cases since November!” Lui shouted as he stood. “Eighty seven people dead and countless others injured and we’re still not closer to finding out what’s going on.”

Kuan-Yin Lui, born in Henan Province in China, was not accustomed to public outbursts. Growing up in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan Province, Kuan-Yin Lui lived what one would call a privileged lifestyle. His parents were both Party members in the Central Committee so he attended the best schools, associating with high officials and learning to hide ones emotions. He just did not let his emotions get in the way of doing his job. Lui even developed a nickname, with many of his friends coming to refer to him as the Chinese Spock; where logic and the purging of emotions were normal.  

“Lui!” yelled Inspector Karpov. “If you’re through beating up on your desk, get in my office.”  The Inspector stood by his open door, hands on his hips. After a moment, he lowered his aggressive posture to a more inviting stance, gestured with his head toward the inner office.

“Anderson, you’re also invited to this meeting.”

Staff Sergeant Jeffery Anderson, Lui’s junior partner was trying to speak with someone on the phone while taking notes through the din in the squad room. He responded to the Inspector with a wave of his hand as he held up his index finger indicating he’d be there in a moment.

Anderson had transferred from the Edmonton Police Services to Ottawa when his wife was relocated. Her career in the Royal Canadian Air Forces shifted quickly after being promoted to Colonel and she was assigned a position at Defense Headquarters in Ottawa as part of the team overseeing the replacement of the CF18 fighter jet with the Euro Fighter.  Truth be told, Anderson did not have any misgivings with the move. He lost his seniority and part of his pension, but his own career in Edmonton force was, stalled. Beginning to get routine and he didn’t like where he was going. He jumped at the opportunity; and the Ottawa force was in the middle of a re-org in the detective squad so the move came at a most opportune time.

Anderson glanced over at Lui pointed to the tablet he was writing on, indicating he would not be long.

Lui, still frustrated and now slightly embarrassed, turned toward the rest of the squad room and with a slight bow, apologized to the other officers for his outburst. His strong belief in his Chinese heritage would not let that kind of public display of anger go without some act of contrition.

He was a very likeable officer, joining the Ottawa force just over four years ago and was always known as a calm and precise individual, not one to let frustration get the better of him. Lui immigrated to Canada from China with a distinguished police career and nothing like this was ever noted on his record.

That calm demeanor was being tested by this current case however and it was having a noticeable effect on Lui. Un-pressed shirts and ties, pants that looked as if he’d slept in them, along with his lower tolerance were all signs that he was under extreme pressure to solve this case.

Once the room settled back to routine, Lui walked toward the Inspectors office and went inside, standing beside the desk. Anderson hung up the phone and grabbed his note Blackberry and Playbook tablet computer, as he too hurried into the office.

Inspector Karpov closed the door and sat down, inviting the two officers to sit. He then looked at Lui and waited.

Lui quickly said, “I apologize for my outburst Inspector. I’m not sure what got into me and I am sorry.”

Karpov surprised Lui with his response, “You have nothing to apologize for,” he started with a sigh. “I know you and I share your aggravation. Let’s face it, we have nothing but guesses, conjecture and nothing else.  I’m not even sure what direction we go from this point. I can bet however this is not the last incident though. Bring me up to date from the beginning.”

“Well, we have a series of apparently unrelated rampaging attacks across the city. All starting, we believe, in November last year when Frost Elementary School was attacked. Four children and three teachers died in that case. Since then, we’ve seen dozens of people dead and scores wounded.  The assailants have no common background and most of them used knives or whatever was handy in their attacks.” Lui paused to check his notes on his Playbook tablet before continuing, “The attacks were targeted at kindergartens and elementary schools in the beginning. Other attacks were at the courthouse, and then random victims at markets and on a train just out of the station headed to Montreal. This last attack yesterday was with a front end loader at a construction site on Bank Street, which at last count resulted in eleven dead.”

Anderson chimed in at this point. “The attacks have prompted calls for more efforts to diagnose and treat serious mental illnesses and have ignited fears in the medical community about undiagnosed issues in so many people. The city council have authorized increased security at schools and public venues along with orders to limit media coverage of the incidents; trying to discourage copycat attacks. The Ontario Provincial Police crime lab, Solicitor General’s office and the RCMP crime labs have all offered any assistance we may need.”

“And with all that effort we don’t seem to be any closer to containing this,” said Commissioner Donald, surprising the three as he stepped into the office quietly, closing the door.

Karpov stood and shook the Commissioner’s hand before offering him a chair. “It’s good to see you Commissioner but this is a surprise.”

“A surprise yes, but you must have known I would be paying you a visit soon enough about this case. You’ve been turning off the heat in this place Karpov? It’s like an ice box in here,” said Commissioner Donald, joking with the Inspector as he blew into his hands, feigning trying to warm them up.

“Sorry sir, I’ll crank up the heat.”

“Sit Karpov, I’m fine and I suspect it’s been plenty hot around here lately.” Donald looked over at Lui.

“You’re the lead investigator Lui, what’s your assessment of this mess? Is there anything that I can take back to the mayor?”

Lui glanced at his partner who nodded, as if to say ‘go ahead, tell them’.

“Anderson and I have a theory, but it’s only a theory at this point and quite frankly it’s not complete. It’s also a…” he paused, not sure how well his hypothesis would be received.

“It’s just a bit ‘out there’ sir; but we’re looking into a few things first before we jump at it. So far, we’re saying, publicly at least, that the incidents are as a result of individuals with serious mental illnesses. Some diagnosed, others not; and many were copy cat cases of violence. I’ve checked with the Royal Ottawa Hospital and Doctor Diovan confirmed that even in the cases with a pre-diagnosed case of mental illness existed, it would be beyond the wildest of odds that all of them would have committed these acts at the same time. In fact, only fifteen percent of the assailants had any previous confirmed mental illness. Also, of the cases with no psychosis, there have been no issues previous that would lead anyone to believe there was a mental problem. Many were family men with active and productive social and employment histories…”

“Come to the point,” interrupted Donald and sounding frustrated.

“My point Commissioner is that we’re not looking at any insanity as the cause of these incidents. We’re looking at something else – I’m sure of it. We just haven’t figured out yet. I Just know it could not be mental illness…,” Lui paused for a moment before continuing, “…and I think that this may have happened before.”

The others gave Lui a queer look.

He explained, his voice softened, “eighteen years ago in China, I was a very new and young police officer when the force was thrown into total confusion. Over two hundred very similar incidents happened over a three year period and sores of men, women and children were killed or injured by people, which for no explained reason, went on a rampage. Very much like what we’re seeing here.

“I think I remember something about that. It was all over the news at the time; local men, good fathers, husbands, going crazy and hacking at children in junior schools. What was the cause there? What happened in the end and why haven’t you mentioned this before?” Karpov demanded.

“Nothing…it just stopped. The media was told to keep quiet about the incidents after the first dozen incidents made the international news; and only a very limited amount of stories ever made it out to the public within China itself. We found no cause or explanation and it was all attributed to mental illness, just like now. The authorities said these were all isolated cases. And I haven’t said anything because it was so bazaar that this could be anything similar, that I wanted to make one hundred percent certain that we are dealing with the same thing. In China we are brought up to keep quiet until we have definitive proof of fact. Even after forty cases….”

Anderson jumped in at this point, adding and confirming part of Lui’s suspicion, “I just got off the phone with the coroner and she’s found something interesting that may support our case for an alternative theory. In the eighteen cases where the assailants died, there was what she called ‘an unusual swelling of the brain’. She said that it was unusual because these were healthy people with no prior history of trauma, illness or concussion. She followed up with family doctor’s and none have any history of, or current tumors. There was also no history of medication or drug use in any of them and she could find no…” he paused to read off his notes, “…outward signs or reasons for the swelling. The toxicology report also showed no known toxins, drugs or stimulants in their systems. She is running more tests and will contact us if there are any other findings.”

“I’m telling you Commissioner; this is not mental illness gone wild. This is being caused by – something. We just have to figure out what.”

“What’s this ‘we’ stuff Detective; this is all yours. If you can’t find out what’s really going on and stop this, the shit that’s hitting the top brass now will begin to roll right down to the bottom of the pile and guess what… you’re standing right where it’ll land.” Donald stood abruptly and went for the door.

At the door, he turned and said in a more consolatory tone, “Gentlemen, whatever you need to fix this, you’ve got it. I’ll sign off on it – just get it done.” With that Donald opened the door and walked out, letting the spring hinged door close on its own.

“Well gentlemen, what’re you waiting for? If it’s not mental, then find out what’s causing apparently normal healthly people to go berserk and put an end to it. Just keep me in the loop.”

Lui and Anderson stood and walked out quietly, leaving Karpov sitting at his desk shaking his head.

Lui turned to Anderson as they walked back to their desk and said, “Grab your coat, we’re going for a ride. I want to see the last crime scene again.”

“We’ve picked through it already Lui, why go back out?”

“I think we’ve missed something. I want to revisit it and maybe go see the others, starting with the first one at the kindergarten school. Bring your tablet with you too.” Lui then turned to the other squad room members working on the case with him. “Right ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got some work to do and we’re moving in a different direction. I want each survivor and assailant re-interviewed along with their families. We need to know if there is any commonality. We need to know where they’ve been, what they’ve eaten, their friends, neighbors, clothing, school, work, shopping, everything.”

The officers and detectives sighed, but only slightly. Everyone knew this had became the top priority in the city.

The two men stopped by their desk and picked up all their gear, and making sure that notes going back to the first case in November were downloaded to their Playbook. Lui stopped, turned and picked up the phone, dialing a number.

“Doctor Grace Allan please,” he asked. “Yes, Doctor Allan, its Detective Kuan-Yin Lui, you were speaking to my partner a few minutes ago. Yes, that’s right.  I wanted to ask you if you’ve had a chance to visit with the other accused.” A pause, “That’s what I thought. What authorization would you need to meet with them and can you take…I don’t know…samples or something to see if they also have or had any brain swelling or common issues?”

Anderson waited beside Lui listening, as he quietly put on his overcoat.

“Thank you doctor. Make it a top priority please and me know as soon as you get any results,” Lui hung up and the two men left the squad room.

The squad room was a beehive of activity with civilians and police personal milling about, back-checking reports and statements or on the phones. Ever since the first attacks took place the force had been on high alert trying to piece together events. After the first attack in the kindergarten, the police had quickly caught the attacker only to have him commit suicide, jumping off the roof of the two story school head first into the playground structure.

It was random and brutal with five children and one teacher killed. Then came another school attack, then another, then a car dealership, the courthouse, and on and on they came. Each one being explained as random and unrelated as the public demanded answers and a halt to the carnage. Yet the police could not explain why and that nagged at Lui.

At the elevator, Anderson asked, “What was that with the cornier?”

“I want to know if any of the other perps have the same brain swelling she found in the eighteen dead ones. We have to start someplace and this is the first real lead we’ve had since the beginning. Back in China there was no way to properly link the cases. Many of them happened in remote villages and no autopsies were preformed on the killers.”

“Even if we run with this latest theory, what do you think we’ll find at the scene?”

“Not sure right now. I’m hoping for a smoking gun; and maybe I’m grasping right now but a drowning man has to grasp at something to maintain hope of survival.” He smiled.

“Is that one of your famous Confucius sayings?”

“No, it’s pure Lui,” he beamed. “Look, even if every one of the perps had some brain swelling, lesions, chemical imbalance or something else that caused the berserk behavior, there has to be a cause for it. We may be in for a lot more attacks and this city will go into a mass panic. We won’t have to worry about shit rolling down on us…it’ll be hip deep and all over the place – no one will be spared.”

The elevator indicator chimed and the door opened, allowing three people to get off and the two detectives to enter. Lui pressed the basement parking button and as the door closed, he glanced over to Anderson with a worried, pensive look about the future.

As the doors opened on the parking level, Anderson took two steps out of the elevator, leaving Lui behind. Turning, he quickly reached out with his hand to stop the door from closing, which brought Lui out of whatever thoughts occupied his mind.

“I want to make one stop before we go to the scene,” said Lui.


“Chinese embassy on Saint Patrick Street. It’s a long shot but I want to see if we can get a follow up on the murders fifteen years ago. I want to look at any autopsy results from that time. I don’t ever remembering reading anything about swelling of the brain in that original investigation. And after speaking with our good doctor, I think we should revisit the past.”

“You do live in a funny world my Chinese friend. You know they’ll never give up the intel; especially not to you.”

“A couple of people over there owe me a favor or two. I’m going to call in – what’s the term,  the marker – and see what happens. At this point we have nothing else to go on.” Lui didn’t want to sound defeatist but that’s how the words flowed.

His whole demeanor lately and his normally sunny outlook on the world around him was shattered by the thought that what happened eighteen years ago could be starting up again and he had no clue as to how to stop it.

The parking garage was well lit as they walked toward the unmarked black coloured Carbon Motors police car. It sat along the far wall and as they approached it they spotted a lone man leaning against the hood of the car.

He wore a dark blue suit and his white shirt collar button was open, his black tie loosened.

Lui spoke first as they approached, “Can we help you?”

“You can Kuan-Yin, you can end the investigation you’re conducting right now.” The Chinese accent was unmistakable as the man spoke.

“Who are you?”

“You have a short memory Kuan-Yin if you do not remember your old partner.”

“Sheng? Sheng Wey Un, What are you doing in Ottawa?”

Lui approached closer and as he neared enough to see Sheng clearly, stopped and bowed slightly, then reached out and shook his hand warmly.

“Kuan-Yin Lui, you are a site my friend.” Sheng returned the bow. “It seems that you have not slept in some time and I suspect this case is why.”

“So what’s this about shutting down the investigation? What are you talking about and again, why are you here?”

“I was asked to come and meet with you. Our government…”

“Your government,” interrupted Yui.

“..The Central Government has requested that you stop this line of investigation and attribute the killings to a kind of mass mental illness that was previously undiagnosed.” Sheng held up his right hand, “Before you interrupt, I know what you are thinking and I agree; but I have my job and still have to ask.”

“If you know what I am thinking then you already know the answer to the request. I must humbly decline.”

“Don’t be a fool Lui, what can you possible achieve by trying to find some elusive cause. You know the result we had in China; the manpower and resources we expended. We found nothing and you will come up with the same answer here.”

“I am surprised that your government would even suggest that we…”

“It is your government and people that we are speaking of Lui. Don’t try and pretend you are not Chinese,” interpreted Sheng angrily. “We are concerned that you may bring shame and dishonor on the force and do not want the Central Government’s name dragged down.”

“You have nothing to worry about Sheng. I am already pursuing another line of investigation that will, if nothing else, prove that we did not fail in China, but rather did not see the path we should have been on.”

“Bah!” scoffed Sheng, throwing up his arms, turning and walked away.

“Before you leave in haste my old friend, you may save me a trip to the embassy.”

Sheng stopped but only looked back, not turning his body, “What do you ask of me, old Friend?” He said old friend like it was poison.

Stepping forward, Lui spoke with determination, “I want our old case files, intact, complete and uncensored. I am looking for similarities between our cases. I believe that we did miss something all those years ago and it is not over. The ‘illness’ may come back to haunt you and the department if we are not successful. I also believe that if I am correct in my theory, then we are in for, as they say here, a world of hurt.”

Sheng turned to face Lui, “What did we miss?”

“This is not mental illness Sheng. This is something that is far worse and far more sinister than simple undiagnosed mental disease. I think that there are commonalities that we overlooked, either by our narrow view of events or by design and I have a need to find out and stop it. I also want to focus on the autopsy results from eighteen years ago.”

“What you ask is not impossible, but dangerous for me. Can you assure me that it will not follow me?”

“You have it with you, don’t you?” Lui said with some surprise.

“I suspected you might require some – information.” Sheng reached into his overcoat and removed a small data memory stick. He twirled it around between his fingers with a forlorn and distant look. It was a look of resignation mixed with determination and fear all rolled into one.

No one spoke for some time, then Sheng tossed the memory stick to Lui who caught it with his left hand. He never removed his eyes from his old partner, and friend.

“Give your word to me Lui – promise me that I will never see you or that data stick again. Promise me that no one will approach me on the streets of Beijing and tell me what I have done today.”

“You have my word that no meeting between us has taken place my old friend. You also have my word that I truly believe that we did all we could those many years ago with all the resources we had at our disposal. We could not have solved this case then.”

Sheng grinned, turned and began to walk away again. On his way out he did say one last thing, “I truly wish you well in putting this crime to bed my old friend.” Sheng walked through the open door of the parking garage leaving Lui and his partner in silence.

Anderson broke the silence, “Well, that was strange.”

Sheng had been Lui’s friend and partner since joining the detective squad in China. Up until that moment however, even with the circumstantial evidence and the new direction the investigation was taking, Lui had his doubts.

“Strange is not the word my friend.” Lui turned to face Anderson and took a step closer. “Why would the Chinese Central Government want to have me stop a murder investigation, in Ottawa, and attribute the crimes to some natural or unknown cause? What happened in China was eighteen years ago.”

“I read your brief on the Chinese incidents, but tell me something Lui, did anyone ever come to any conclusion as to why it stopped?”

“Once the killings stopped we went on for about a month but were told to wrap it up. We never did truly finish the investigation.”

Anderson thought for a moment, turned and walked around toward the driver’s door then opened it. Lui followed his lead and walked toward the passenger side.

Anderson sat down and closed the door before turning to Lui. “I’m going to throw this out and I want you to think about it for a moment.” He was cautious in choosing his words, mulling it through as he spoke. “You say that the killings ended. They didn’t taper off but just stopped. Why? Why does that happen in any case we’ve ever worked on?”

Lui thought about it, and began to follow Anderson’s line of thought.

Anderson continued, “If the killer was caught, or died, or moved, whatever was happening would have stopped. What other reasons would cause the events of eighteen years ago to end?”

“I do not know my friend, but I agree, it is odd; it was odd then just as much as it is odd today.” He took out the memory stick and looked at it as it he could read the data just by staring at it.

The two detectives drove in silence as they weaved their way through city traffic toward the last crime scene. The streets of Ottawa were busy with summer construction blending into the fall construction season. Most trees were bare, their leaves long fallen, giving the normally warm, green and inviting boulevards a stark, cold and forbidding look. It was a city of contrasts as they drove South on Queen Elizabeth Way toward First Avenue where they turned right.  Ottawa is a city of the very old mixed with the very new as it tried to redefine itself into a world class metropolis. It never seemed to hold itself to that high standard however as Lui observed many times. 

He always felt, deep down, that Ottawa was more of a small town disguised as a big city. There were some he spoke to that seemed insulted by this observation but many saw it as a complement. That somehow, Ottawa never lost its warmth and historical charm. It mixed that old Victorian heritage with the newer, modern high tech edge world capitals aspired to be. And that was, in his humble opinion, a good thing.

Lui let his mind wonder as they drove west along First Avenue toward their final destination just off Bank Street in the Glebe. He forced himself to think of other things, trying to give his thoughts comfort and rest from the case.

As they approached Bank Street, Anderson found an empty parking spot, pulled the car over to the curb and parked.

“I’ll start canvassing again. Maybe some of the store employees around here noticed something. We may have missed some individuals that were off the day of the crime.” He grabbed his tablet and got out of the car, headed north on Bank Street.

Lui took agreed that was a good idea, and walked toward the actual construction site where the front end loader was taken. That was two blocks south from where they parked; and technically speaking Lui thought, the large machine wasn’t really stolen, since it was the legitimate operator that went on this killing spree. As he turned onto Bank Street, he noticed a news paper box with the headline:  DEATH TOLL AT 17 AFTER KILLING SPREE

He deposited change into the box and removed one of the papers; wanting to see how the press was treating this latest incident

The Associated North Press – Ottawa Ontario Canada – 03 August 2012

 The death toll has risen to 17 after a drunk driver at the wheel of his bucket loader tore through a coffee shop and bus shelter on Bank Street in Ottawa in an area known as The Glebe, residents said Tuesday, the latest in a string of grisly rampage attacks across the city. 

 Families of the victims mourned their loved ones at funerals across the city after 38-year-old David Eward, went on his killing spree. 

 Shattered buildings, crushed cars and splintered trees testified to the severity of the damage inflicted by the massive machine.  Eward drove off in his loader Sunday afternoon after killing his boss at the construction site where he worked. No one at the site could remember Eward recalled him drinking, but it was apparent from his behavior and subsequent actions that alcohol may have played a factor. 

 Apparently picking his victims at random, Eward smashed his way down the tree-lined mixed residential and small business street, running over motorcycles and small cars and ripping first into the busy coffee shop. In some cases, he stopped to flip the vehicles with his bucket before crushing them under his wheels, residents said, adding that the youngest victim was five years old.  Witnesses, some hanging onto the side of the vehicle, attempted to stop the mayhem, one of them stabbing at Eward several times with a kitchen knife after he ran out of a kitchen supply store.

 Eward, after ripping into the crowded but shelter, drove back to the construction site and, bleeding heavily, brandishing a crowbar he climbed down from the cab of the machine.

He was finally overcome when a construction site foreman Wang Xinjiang climbed over one side of the front end loader, and tackled Eward, kicking him in the groin and pinned him to the ground. 

 “He came down (from the vehicle) and shouted ‘I’m a dead man anyway! I’m dead anyway,'” said Wang, a former soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. 

 Friends and family gathered to offer condolences at one home where the bodies of a 34-year-old housewife and her young daughter were laid out in coffins, according to their custom. 

 “We didn’t know him. We don’t know why he did it. It is just like some natural disaster that came along,” said the woman’s husband, who identified himself only by his surname, Jacobs. 

 Eward was taken into custody and almost certainly faces numerous 1st degree charges for murder. Calls to local government officials and the Ottawa Police Services rang unanswered on Tuesday. 

 A series of apparently unrelated rampage attacks across Ottawa in recent months have left dozens of people dead and scores wounded. 

 Assailants, most of them wielding knives, have targeted kindergartens and elementary schools, a courthouse, and random victims at markets and on a train. 

 The attacks have prompted calls for more efforts to diagnose and treat serious mental illnesses, and have ignited fears about the nation’s capital city emotional’ health.   Authorities have responded with increased security at schools and other public places.

It was what he expected as he read the article – not much on facts but lots to fuel panic he thought. Looking around as he walked, he noticed several make shift memorials where individuals left flowers, pictures and lit candles to remember the dead and injured.  Many people, families, children, and individuals, from all social classes, stood or sat on the ground to pray, cry and try to make some sense of the carnage.

Lui could not think of any way that someone could make sense of this. He arrived at the construction site and saw the front end loader parked on a mound of debris where the driver, the killer, had left it. The site was eerily quiet for what should have been a busy weekday. 

Lui stood far enough back to get some perspective.  He was a methodical person and his visual scan of the scene began from his position at the edge, moved forward toward the far left of the site and then moved toward the right edge, where the construction site met the existing sidewalk. It was as it was left at the time of the incident. The taped off section where David Eward killed his first victim was left undisturbed. Other than the police tape however, there were no other changes.

Continuing his scan of the area, he began to see a pattern. He opened his tablet and accessed the original police report; looking for the TOI. The time of incident was thirteen ten hours – lunch time by all accounts. That was when the calls first started to come into the nine-one-one dispatch. This corroborated what he was seeing – lunch bags, thermoses’, and sandwiches left where they were dropped by panicked workers.

Lui then checked the report again. David Eward had never shown any signs of anger, psychosis, or abnormal activity in the past. Everyone described him as a loving family man, kind, honest and caring. So what triggered him?

The crime scene map, as it was drawn up by the attending constables, showed Eward location prior to him taking his loader. Lui checked the map with the on ground position and walked to where Eward sat with his fellows and ate lunch.

What he saw was lunch for six individuals plus Eward scattered. The witness said that Eward did not run, panic or freak out ; he just stood up, smiled and turned, walking toward his loader.

Carefully, Lui examined each lunch. He noted in the report that this was not done at the time and he concluded that this was sloppy work on the part of the on scene constables.  As he checked each lunch, he noted that there really wasn’t anything that looked, smelled or seemed out of place. Corn beef on rye, peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, coffee, orange juice, pop, water…. and then Eward’s. Now that was different – Fish. Odd for a construction worker thought Lui.

Lui looked around at other lunch meals left deserted by the workers and none of the others seemed to have had fish.  It was different as first noted, but nothing too out of the norm of human consumption.  Lui made note in his tablet and moved on from there.

Police investigation is part science and part luck. It is the collection of evidence at the same time the reconstruction of a past event. In either case, it’s the cop on the ground that has to decide that is or is not evidence. It is the cop on the ground that has to decide how one should reconstruct the past event.

The problem Lui was having right now is he could name a dozen different occasions where the direction of an investigation took a wrong turn because of the narrow views of that cop on the ground.

It wasn’t enough to collect evidence as one never really knew what was or was not evidence. The original investigation in China had so many ‘cop’s on the ground’ that much evidence was missed and the reconstruction of the crime went in diverging directions. That was clear enough after the fact, but at the time, no one pointed out what should have been obvious.

They was also the usual political interference as the Communist government of the Central Committee made it very  clear they did not appreciate the international scrutiny brought on by the killings. There was enormous pressure for investigators to find a solution. Whether or not it was the correct solution did not matter. In all cases, it came down to the quickest explanation – human frailty of the mind.

That was when Lui began to question his own commitment to his job, his career and his country. He began to see, case after case, his colleagues end an inquiry only to spout off the party policy. It became very clear that the truth did not always matter as suspect after suspect was charged, given a trial and sent to jail or executed.

He believed in due process, in the investigation to uncover the truth and at times, the original suspect was not what the truth uncovered.  That was what he pursued now, the truth. He always considered himself to be an idealist. He chuckled at that thought.

There was not much more to be found at the construction site. Not at this level anyway. He looked up at the unfinished skeleton of a building. Scanning, he spotted a letter leading up to the second story and then another further in that led to the third floor.

Lui climbed up and walked toward the edge. He knew the crime scene investigators had gone over the area with a tweezers but it never hurt to the job yourself.

His first question was why go after the big loader? If Eward had an issue with his boss, the first victim, why not use what was at hand? There were over a dozen different possible murder tools Eward could have picked up between his location as he sat down for lunch, to where the foreman was at the time.

Lui checked the crime scene map on his Playbook against what he was looking at from the third story of the building. There was something that did not make sense; something out of place, but he just couldn’t put his finger on it.

Just then he heard, “Lui…. Lui, where the devils are you?” it was Anderson.

“Look up!” he shouted back down.

Anderson stopped and craned hi neck upward to see Lui staring down at him. “Now how the hell did you get up there? And why the hell are you up there?” he asked, shaking his head in disbelief.

“The ladder… just past the loader.”

Anderson moved to see around the big machine, spotted the ladder and made is way over to it.

“I trust you have good reason for making me climb up this thing.”

Lui handed him the tablet and asked, “What do you see my out of breath friend?”

Anderson took the device and gave Lui a disgruntled look. He studied the map first, then, holding onto an exposed iron girder, leaned out to get a better view of the ground below. He saw the front end loader, the taped off area where the foreman was killed, and the location where co-workers first noticed Eward climbing into the loader.

“OK, what exactly am I looking at?” he asked, with some mild frustration.

Lui answered, “Put yourself in the place of Eward. Start at the point where he was having lunch. Now go after the foreman.”

Anderson, skeptical, did what he was asked. He first sought out the lunch spot, then began to trace a route from there to….. then he saw it.

Excited, he said, “There was nothing about a pre-confrontation in the witness statements.” He half shouted.

“Let’s go down to his level first before we get too excited. This may be nothing, it may be something.”

The two men climbed down the ladders as quickly as they could in dress shoes. Then carefully running over to the lunch spot.

“OK my friend, I am Eward. I will follow the witness statements to the letter. You too are Eward, but you will do what any single, fixated obsessed mind would do if you were bent on killing your foreman.”

The two men began at the same location; they began to walk in the direction of the loader, and the foreman. That’s when it became clear. If Eward wanted to just harm the unfortunate foreman, Eward would have had a better, faster and more effective way of killing him.

The route witnesses said Eward took went right past where the foreman and others were also eating. None of them reported Eward in an agitated state or seemed upset in any way. If anything, they said he smiled, stopped to make small talk, and then went off to where he parked his machine.

If Eward was targeting the foreman, why just pick up a crowbar, pri-bar, spanner, rebar, brick, bolder or any other item to smash in his head. He was supposed to be frantic, hysterical, frenzied – totally out of control.  Yet none of that was taking place as far as any of the dozen or more witnesses reported.

Anderson cut in at this point, “The other witness I just canvassed all reported that Eward was just – well, just driving the loader as if he was on his way home from work without a care in the world. No panic, anger or emotion on his face. This would have been velar to see from the position of the driver in the loader. And the statements are consistent.”

“Look at where you are standing now,” said Lui. “See, it is not even in the direction of the loader. You are walking away from it, toward the foreman. No my friend. The foreman was not a target; just someone in the wrong place.”

“But once Eward got into the loader, he drove it around as if looking for the poor basterd. As soon as the foreman,” Anderson paused to look up the foreman’s name. “As soon as Martneau sited the loader coming in his direction, he took off. That didn’t matter however as Eward followed his every direction. Besides, look at where the loader was parked. On the other side of that shed, behind the tractor trailer full of rebar. That’s a long way to go just to chase down one man at random.”

“Yes, but where does it say the others ran? Into the building, away from the loader since it could not possible get through the maze of steel support columns. If Martneau ran into the building he may have been safe, and alive today. No… I do not believe this was a targeted killing. I do however believe there is more to this ‘hysterical madness’ than meets the eye.”

Lui took out his phone and dialed a number. “I am checking something with the coroner again.”

“Doctor, its Lui. I wonder if you can check something for me. Did you get an opportunity to examine Mr. Eward, the latest suspect….. Yes, the dozer killings…. Please, put this at the top of the list. Can you do a CT scan and MRI of his head? I will not say what I suspect but yes, it is related to our last conversation….. Thank you”.



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