Questioning the manner
By: Cin and Heidi
Note: We were approached to write this piece inspired by television shows that have featured this urban legend, and to turn the legend into a fanfic story for The Magnificent Seven in the FCPD/AU. You are reading the result.
Warnings: The focus of the story is the manner of death of an original character, almost as a forensic exercise. There are a few bad words.
Atop the North Tower, twelve stories above the ground, a single person stood at the edge. He looked down once, twice, and then closed his eyes. It wasn't supposed to be this way. The man remembered the all-too-few happy times, and he smiled a little ghost of a smile. Then he remembered why he was here, and the fledgling smile fell away. It was time.
He checked behind him, seeing the note where he left it, where he believed the police would easily find it. Satisfied, he faced out over the town, watching the night lights twinkle for the last time. He stepped up on the parapet, took a deep breath, spread his arms wide, and fell.
"9-1-1, state your emergency." Four Corners Police Department Dispatcher Casey Wells answered the telephone on the first ring, readying herself for anything. Her fingers poised on the keyboard, while her eyes noted the address on her enhanced Caller ID.
"Send someone quick! Camelot North Tower! A man just jumped from the roof!"
Casey entered the address while asking a question. "Is he breathing, ma'am?"
"I don't think so. He's facedown and not moving. It's at least ten stories."
"Can someone check?"
"I'm not going out there. Just send someone." Click. The woman disconnected.
Casey sent the call through the computer to Ladonna, who promptly winced. Her foot hit the transmit pedal for the radio system. "FC, 11-03, 11-04, copy urgent." She called Officers First Class Josiah Sanchez and Nathan Jackson, identifying herself as FC, or Four Corners.
Josiah's voice quickly answered. "11-03."
"11-04." Nathan was deliberately a beat behind Josiah, so not to cover either transmission.
"1500 Excalibur Road, 1-5-0-0 Excalibur Road, Camelot Keep, North Tower. Cross streets of Knights Way and Round Table Drive. Report of man down, cannot verify breathing, possible fall victim. Ambulance being notified."
"11-03's en route, running code."
"11-04, same traffic."
"11-01, FC, mark me responding code." Sergeant Chris Larabee's voice came through the radio, rounding out the responding units as supervisor on duty. Until they determined the subject was deceased, Chris was not needed. However, as a good supervisor, he went to support his men in their duties, and he drove code, which meant full lights and sirens activated.
"10-4." Ladonna released the foot pedal. "Case, it's a good one."
"Uh-huh. Ambulance notified. Strange we haven't gotten more calls. I'm not calling her back because she's not going to tell me anything new."
"It's almost midnight. Most people that live in the North Tower are asleep."
"But why didn't anyone else notice?"
"Yeah. Josiah will give us the scoop later. That man loves a good story."
The man in question eased the police car to a stop, parking so his lights illuminated the victim from fifteen feet away. He reached for his lapel mike. "11-03's on location."
"11-03, 10-4. All units, Code White for 11-03." Using the phrase "Code White," Ladonna gave the 'stop transmitting' order to all units not involved in Josiah's call. This effectively cleared the channel for only those units involved in the emergency. All others moved their radio traffic to Channel Two, the backup channel. Having a clear channel was essential for officer safety. No one had to worry about other units transmitting over their radio traffic, which might just be a call for help.
Carefully, Josiah slipped on a pair of gloves as he approached the victim. There was still no movement from the prone form. "Hey, Mister!" he called.
The man did not respond.
With two fingers, Josiah reached for the neck, bent at an odd angle, to find a pulse. Nothing. The chest did not rise or fall, and the open, mangled eyes stared vacantly at the pavement.
Nathan stopped his car near Josiah's, rushing over with his trauma bag. The paramedic caught Josiah's slow headshake, and his eyes closed briefly. He also checked for signs of life, finding none.
The ambulance arrived, the paramedic on board reaching the same conclusion. He officially declared the injuries exceeding life. Nathan could have done this, but it looked better in court if the ambulance crew called the death officially. The crew retreated to their ambulance, pulling out the inevitable paperwork.
"11-03, FC." Josiah stood.
"Ocean King. Lift the White. 11-01, continue in, slow your response. David Ocean Adam."
"11-01's on location." Chris pulled his car into a spot clearly marked 'No Parking'. The sergeant understood Ocean King meant the units were okay, but the person was Dead On Arrival. He joined his men, watching Josiah use bright yellow tape to set a perimeter. He almost laughed when the second and third sets of tape went up a good twenty feet from the body. Chris knew the first line to the second set established their actual perimeter, while between set two and three defined the 'press area,' giving the media what they believed was closer access. The officers would keep citizens behind the third set.
Nathan walked over to greet him. "We've blocked the front doors because he either bounced off or went through the awning."
"Great." Larabee spotted the orange traffic cones in front of the glass doors, along with a big "X" of police tape from top to bottom. He also noticed the faces mashed against the glass, various looks from horror to curiosity on their visages. "Keep them in there. Any witnesses?"
"Just the caller. She hasn't come forward, but we haven't been here for very long. I'm sure Casey has the information."
"Go check the roof. I'll play nice with the spectators."
Nathan snorted. "Yeah, right. I believe that. Just like I believe Ezra doesn't bet on anything." Still shaking his head, Jackson walked to the front door, admitting himself around the tape, and continuing out of sight.
"I can be nice," Chris muttered. He glared at a resident trying to duck around the tape, caught the man's attention, and pointed. "Side entrance."
The resident yelled back. "But I live here."
Chris jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "And he's dead right there. This is a crime scene. Go around or go to jail."
"I knew I should've stayed in Los Angeles. People were nicer there." The resident retreated under the tape, heading for the side entrance.
"I can be nice when people aren't stupid," Chris amended.
Josiah chuckled behind him. "I believe you, brother."
"Did you request the medical examiner?" Chris faced the broad man.
"Yup. Casey's calling now."
Casey pulled up the on-call list of medical examiners, running her fingers down the page until she hit the correct date. She sighed.
"Who's up?" Ladonna asked. The dispatcher knew that the county's three assigned medical examiners rotated a week of on-call every three weeks.
"Have fun." Ladonna chuckled.
Casey made a face while searching for the map coordinates. "Thanks." Now armed with the exact location of the call, she grabbed the telephone and punched the button for a non-recorded line. Her fingers danced across the keypad, and she heard the ring. A second later, it was picked up.
"Someone better be dead." The gravelly voice radiated hostility. "Or you will be."
"Someone's dead, sir."
"I knew you were going to say that. Who's this?"
"Casey at FCPD."
"Girl, I better be on an unrecorded line."
"You are. You requested it, and Chief Travis ordered it."
"Good. Then I don't have to mind my mouth. Where am I going and why?"
"Camelot Keep, North Tower, 1500 Excalibur Way, coordinates 10E2." She gave the coordinates because Dr. Mackinac tended to get lost without precise directions. To keep him from calling back later, they gave him the coordinates so he could locate the scene by using his own map.
"Camelot Keep, I know where that place is. It's such a pretentious name for overpriced shoeboxes. Which letter, girl?"
"In front of the North Tower, sir. They suspect a jumper."
"Oh, goodie. Just the way I want to start my morning. Guess I won't stop for food. Who's working it?"
"Sanchez is lead; Jackson and Larabee are on scene for backup."
"Hmmph. Better than that obnoxious Wilmington or that sassy Caswell."
"How long shall I tell them you'll be?"
"Twenty-five minutes. Give or take."
"Okay. Thank you, sir." Casey disconnected. She called Josiah's cell phone. "Hey, it's Casey. Mackinac's got a twenty-five minute ETA."
Casey also notified the Evidence Collection Unit (Crime Lab) and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to have detectives respond per Josiah's request.
"Who's coming?" Chris looked over at Josiah.
"Mackinac." Sanchez tucked his cellphone away.
"Now we wait."
Josiah and Chris continued to monitor their perimeter; Sanchez was standing guard near the body, and Chris was roving around on foot to control the slowly growing collection of onlookers.
Nathan Jackson reached the roof, walking carefully across the surface to the point from where they believed the subject jumped. There, beside the ledge, sat a note addressed to the Four Corners Police Department. He did not open it, or did he touch it. The paramedic turned police officer changed his radio frequency to talkaround, meaning his transmissions would not be recorded, and he could be less formal with his speech. "Josiah."
"I have a note up here, so we'll need CID and Crime Lab up here."
"I'll let them know when they arrive."
"Nathan," Chris' voice interrupted.
"I'm taking over up there. You can handle the crowd control."
"Yes, sir." Nathan barely managed to get the 'sir' out without chuckling.
The two Four Corners Police Department officers changed places, letting Chris enjoy the solitude of the roof.
Nathan rode the elevator down to the lobby, walked out the front door - around the tape - and joined Josiah. He noticed Buck had shown up and was performing crowd control for them.
Jackson keyed up his mike on talkaround. "Leaving your sector, Wilmington?"
"Halter sent me up." Buck shrugged.
Halter was one of the Midnight Shift's two commanders, and he often reassigned people to make calls run smoother.
Josiah's voice interrupted. "Ezra and Nina are minding the store?"
"Don't forget her trainee, Vin." Nathan added.
Buck turned his body so no citizen around him could hear his response. "Those three are worse than kids. I'm glad I'm here, because if I had to hear one more bickering match between any of them, I probably would have shot first and filled out the paperwork later."
"Amen." Chris' voice came from the lapel mikes on their shoulders. "Throw in all three in one place at the same time, and you've got a free-for-all of ill-behaved two-year-olds."
"Ezra? Ill-behaved?" Buck snorted. "More like a royal pain in the butt."
"Man your posts, because Mackinac's here." The sergeant's position high above, guarding the site of the jump, gave him the ability to see the distinctively somber, dark-colored van belonging to Mackinac get let through the barricades.
The van rolled to a stop nearby, and the coroner stepped out. Doctor Seymour Collinswood Mackinac the Fourth, medical examiner and forensic scientist, picked up what he called his bag of tricks and walked over. He ignored the yells from the reporters. He was wearing his usual attire – a jumpsuit covering a white button-down shirt and bow tie. He was bald across the top half of his head, and tufts of white, curly hair stood out over his ears, going around and meeting in the back. Dr. Mackinac, also known as Mac Attack for his propensity to yell at anyone who displeased him, snapped on a pair of gloves with professional ease. His voice, gravelly and distinctive, rolled across the small grouping of officers. "Who's the sucker stuck with the jumper?"
"Guess that's me." Josiah stepped forward.
Mackinac looked past him. "Jackson, that you?"
"Come over here. Sanchez, I'll deal with you later. Let me work with Nathan."
"Not a problem." Josiah stepped back, returning to his post.
"Nathan, how are you?"
"Fine, sir. Yourself?"
"I've been called out for a jumper in the middle of the night. You tell me."
"Hopefully this will be cut and dry so that you can go home."
Mackinac bobbed his head. "We'll see." The medical examiner went to work, quickly going through the basics, and the investigators from the Criminal Investigation Division arrived, taking photographs and making notes for their reports.
A short time later, Mackinac rolled the body over, and when he did, they found a surprise. Blood covered the entire chest, and holes became evident in the shirt. The face was crushed and unrecognizable as human in places.
"I'll be danged. Start looking for where this came from. It's probably a 12 gauge with scattershot. Identification will have to be off dental records and missing persons."
"We may have a note saying who it is up on the roof."
One of the detectives left the ground scene and headed up to see the note on the roof.
"Find me the window this came out off."
The detectives, Nathan, and Josiah all tipped their heads far back, checking the windows of the North Tower. Not too far up, they found a window with a hole in it, right around the ninth floor. Josiah and one of the detectives walked up to the ninth floor, hearing the sound of an argument coming clearly through the door in question.
Josiah reached the door first, banging hard on it. "Four Corners Police Department."
"What the hell do you want?" The door flew open, and an elderly man holding a shotgun glared at him.
"Put down the gun, sir." Josiah's hand slid to his own weapon, one hand reaching out for the shotgun. "Now."
The detective beside him also reached for his service revolver.
"Here, take it." The elderly man thrust it at him. "Damn thing scared five years off my life."
Handling it with a handkerchief, Josiah passed it to the detective wearing gloves and watched it be unloaded. He asked, "Can we come in?"
"Sure, sure." The elderly man opened the door wider, giving them admittance to the house. Inside, he led the pair of officers into a spacious living room, slightly drafty from the large hole in the French doors. "I'm Arthur Rogers, and this is my wife Virginia." He indicated the woman currently holding her chest and breathing hard in the recliner.
"Hello," she wheezed.
"Ma'am, are you okay? Do you need an ambulance?" Josiah walked over to the woman, letting the detective watch the man. He squatted beside her.
"I'll be fine, young man. Thank you for your concern."
Josiah allowed himself a small smile at being called young man. "That's what we're here for. Can you tell me what happened?"
"My wife and I had an argument, and the gun discharged. We figured all the lights were because of us breaking the glass." Arthur shrugged.
"Can I get you something to drink?" Virginia went to stand.
"No, that's okay, ma'am. Just stay where you are."
"It wasn't loaded. I could have sworn it wasn't loaded." Arthur shook his head. "I never keep it loaded."
"Where do you keep it, sir?" Josiah asked.
"In the other room. I'll show you."
Taking his cue from the detective, Josiah followed the man, while the investigator talked to the female. This way, they could get separate statements from each.
Arthur opened the closet and pointed to the open case. "I never load it."
"It was loaded tonight, sir, and it was discharged. When was the last time you knew for sure it was unloaded?"
"When I gave it to my son. He took it to a friend to have it checked and cleaned. I put it in the closet when he gave it back."
"How long ago was that?"
"Hmm. Six weeks."
"Did you check it when your son brought it back?"
"Okay. Why was the gun out tonight?" Josiah scribbled notes in his pad.
"I was mad at her."
"Her, your wife, Virginia?"
"That's her. Blight of my existence."
"Sir, I'm going to advise you of your Miranda warning at this point, because we do have a discharge of a firearm." Josiah read Arthur Rogers his rights, and the man waived them so the questioning continued. "Why did you take the shotgun out, sir?"
"To scare her."
"Were you fighting?"
"She made chicken for dinner."
Incredulous, Josiah asked, "You got out a shotgun because your wife made chicken for dinner?"
"Today was the twenty-fourth day in a row she made chicken. Could you eat chicken for twenty-four days straight? I swear I'm sprouting wings and clucking. I didn't think she knew that many ways to fix it. I'm sick of chicken!" Arnold practically yelled the last part. "You hear me, Virginia? I'm sick of chicken!"
"So you went for the shotgun."
"Yes! Like I always do when she gets mouthy. I waved it at her because she made me so damn mad."
"You've waved it at her before?"
"All our lives."
Josiah scribbled some more, careful to keep his face neutral, and thankful the police now had possession of the shotgun. "Do you normally squeeze the trigger?"
"Hell, no. I was so mad my hands started shaking."
"Over chicken?" Josiah couldn't leave it alone.
"She told me she
wouldn't cook beef or pork because they upset my
stomach. Gives me gas and she gets offended.
It's my house. You hear me, Virginia?" Arthur
started yelling again in the direction of the
living room. "If I want to pass gas in my house,
I'll pass gas."
A faint yell reached their ears. "Not if I can help it!"
"Then I'll hire a cook!"
"And I'll tell the cook to make chicken!"
"Virginia!" Arthur bellowed.
Josiah stepped in front of him, blocking the smaller man with his mass. "I have a couple more questions, Mr. Rogers, if I could have your attention?"
"What?" Distracted, Arthur stared up at the police officer. "Oh. Ask away."
"Once you told her that you would do what you wanted in your house, what happened?"
"I was still mad and waving the shotgun, telling her that one of these days I'd load it. My hands shook so badly I pulled the trigger. Damn near knocked me on my ass when it went off… and I missed her, too."
"What did you do next?"
"Stared at the hole in the window and told her it was her fault."
"What did she do?"
"Started crying, and then ran in the bathroom."
"Okay. Did you see the person outside the window?"
"What?" Arthur's bushy eyebrows rose. "I'm on the ninth floor. There shouldn't be anyone outside my window."
"You mean my blast hit someone?"
"Dear Lord. Did he…she…make it?"
"I killed someone?"
"We're not sure yet."
Arthur swayed on his feet. "I need to sit down."
"Let's go back in the living room." Josiah led the man to a chair a short distance from his wife.
"Virginia?" Arthur softly said.
"I know, dear. It's terrible."
"You shouldn't have made chicken."
"Let it go, dear." Virginia dabbed her eyes with tissues.
"No, I won't let it go. I may go to jail because of your chicken!"
"I didn't get the shotgun, Arthur. Again. And wave it around. Again. And this time you loaded it."
"I didn't load it!"
"I didn't either."
Arthur said, "Your son probably loaded it so I would kill you."
"What a horrible thing to say about your son!"
"Your son's a worthless piece of --"
"It's the truth. Didn't you cut off his allowance two months ago?"
"He started doing things for us after that happened."
"Like having my gun cleaned and loaded. He wanted me to kill you! Then he'd get your father's money."
"I refuse to listen to this."
"You have to, Virginia."
Her fingers went in her ears, and she started singing. "LALALALALALALA. Can't hear him, don't want to hear him, LALALALALALA."
Arthur took the opportunity to yell, "NO MORE CHICKEN!"
Josiah nearly dropped his head on his chest. This couple argued the topics into the ground, until the argument long passed annoying. And then they kept going, Arthur yelling, and her singing, until the patient man lost his patience. "ENOUGH!" Josiah roared.
Both the man and the woman stared at him in shock from being yelled at with such volume.
"Just so you folks don't forget, someone died tonight."
"And it's all your fault, Virginia."
"Stop it," Josiah ordered. "Enough. Now, Mr. Rogers, if you will come with me, we will get your statement in the kitchen."
"Oh, sure, make me move."
"Mr. Rogers, you're obviously more mobile than your wife. That's why. Now, please come with me." Josiah led them into the kitchen, seated Arthur, and had him fill out a statement. While Arthur was writing, Josiah stepped into the hallway to call on the radio.
"11-03 to 11-01 and 11-04," he called Chris and Nathan.
"11-01," Chris answered immediately.
"11-04." Nathan's voice came back crisp and clear through the radio speaker.
"11-04, is the M.E. with you?"
"Good. We have confirmed the location of the shot, and the reason for discharge. It's an elderly couple having a domestic, and he has the habit of waving the shotgun at the wife. He didn't know it was loaded when it went off this time; he usually keeps it unloaded."
"10-4. So we might have a suspect," Chris said.
"Dr. Mackinac believes we'll need to determine cause of death first," Nathan said.
"Shot or fall?" Chris asked.
"Okay. Josiah, keep getting statements," Chris ordered.
"On it. There's a possibility their son loaded the shotgun on purpose, because the father has a habit of grabbing the gun and waving it at the mother whenever he's mad."
"Let's talk to the son, then." The sergeant's voice was filled with purpose.
"10-4," Josiah answered.
Nathan said, "Dr. Mackinac will look at our victim tomorrow morning. Chris, any problem with me sitting in?"
Josiah asked, "Nathan, any identification on the subject?"
"Negative. Waiting for the detectives to check the note Chris has up there."
"All right. I'm going back in to the family feud." Josiah returned to the kitchen. He questioned Arthur for information on how to contact his son, and the name of the friend who looked at the gun. He checked over his notes and clarified every detail, while the detective did the same thing with Virginia.
All attempts to contact the son that night were unsuccessful.
It took some time before the detectives got up on the roof to relieve Chris. Once they did, they took pictures of the area, picked up any evidence they saw, and confiscated the note.
The suicide note simply rambled on about how the jumper hated being poor, detested kissing up to people who did not deserve it, wanted a new job, and wanted to be popular. It also said he wanted to be rich, and wished his parents had died and left him their inheritance. Since they hadn't died, the man had given up. The note was signed 'Jimmy.'
Now the police department had to identify their missing person by fingerprints and dental records, or wait for someone to report him missing.
The following morning, Dr. Mackinac performed the autopsy on the victim with Nathan in attendance. It took a couple of hours. After, the Doctor sent Nathan home while he was waiting for results from the lab, which could probably take the rest of the day. Initially, however, Dr. Mackinac believed the cause of death would be suicide.
Having passed that information on to the detectives, Nathan went home for some much needed rest.
Detectives spent the day tracking down the friend that the son took the shotgun to, and then taking the friend's statement. He told them that he had received the weapon unloaded. He'd inspected it, cleaned it, and made a few minor repairs. Then he gave it back to the son -- unloaded. He watched the son load it, and asked why.
The son told the friend that he was pretty depressed about his mother cutting him off financially. He explained he was going to do everything he could to get back in their good graces, including taking care of small errands that the couple never had time to do. Such as get the gun checked, cleaned, and loaded.
For some reason, the friend was uncomfortable with this after the son left, and called the son's girlfriend. The girlfriend told him that the son planned to give his parents the loaded shotgun. He was hoping, when his father lost his temper and started waving the gun around again, that his father would kill his mother. Then he, the son would inherit a significant fortune.
The friend did not know what to do, but he was afraid of getting in trouble himself, so consequently, did nothing.
Detectives immediately went to talk to the girlfriend and took her statement. As of yet, all attempts to find the son had failed.
Nathan returned to work, finding a message from Dr. Mackinac. He used the telephone in the roll call room. "Dr. Mackinac?"
"Nathan. Good of you to call back. I've changed my initial on the manner of death."
"It's not suicide, Doctor?"
"No. He would have survived the fall."
Having heard the paramedic's part of the conversation, Chris motioned for Nathan to put it on speaker so everyone else could hear.
Nathan asked, "You're telling me he would have survived a fall from that building?"
"Yes. There's a cleaner catcher on the tenth floor, and that significantly slowed his fall."
"Cleaner catcher?" Chris asked.
"A ledge designed to give the window washers, should something happen, the opportunity to grab onto something before they reach the ground. In other words, it is something to slow their fall. Don't you know anything, Larabee?"
Chris smirked. "Enough to stay off cleaner catchers."
Mackinac chuckled. "True. Anyway, signs also show he was caught in the awning over the building entrance, and bounced off onto the ground. He would have survived the fall, except for the shotgun that blast killed him."
Buck leaned toward the telephone. "Survived meaning what, Doc?"
"Meaning he might have been a paralyzed vegetable, but he would have been a breathing paralyzed vegetable. We can't go on quality of life here; we deal with yes, he would have lived, or no, he would not have lived. So it's not a suicide anymore; it's a murder."
Josiah sighed. "Great. Just what I want to deal with - arresting Mr. Rogers." His hands ran down his face, and then he rubbed his chin. "Nathan, Chris, I nominate you for backup."
"Until I know anything else, it's standing as a murder. Good night. I need sleep, and don't call me tonight." Mackinac hung up.
Chris called the on-call state's attorney, confirming that they had enough for arrest, and checked with the detectives, who gladly allowed Chris and company to make the actual arrest. The detectives would meet them at the station to question Mr. Rogers further.
After roll call, Chris, Nathan, and Josiah drove back to the Rogers' apartment, knocking on the door. Mr. Rogers let them in and ushered them into the living room.
"What can I do for you, officers?"
"Mr. Arthur Rogers," Josiah said, "this is Sergeant Larabee, and Officer First Class Jackson. We're here to talk to you, again, about the murder of John Doe." Josiah read him his Miranda warning again.
"Murder of John Doe? The jumper?" Arthur's eyes widened. "But I didn't know it was loaded."
"Sir, if you fire at one person and hit another, killing the second person, you are responsible for the murder of the second person," Nathan gently explained, keeping an eye on the wife.
She started sobbing.
"I…I won't give you any problems, officers," Arthur said.
"We didn't load it!" Virginia wailed, standing up to be beside her husband. "Honestly, we didn't load it."
Chris asked, "Have you heard from your son, ma'am?"
She shook her head. "No. He hasn't called us. Oh, I feel weak." She swayed on her feet, and Nathan immediately went to her side, easing her back on the sofa.
Nathan saw a picture of the family on the table, and he stared. "Ma'am, who's that with you and your husband?"
"My son, James."
"Does he go by Jimmy?"
"We refuse to call him that," Virginia said, wiping her eyes with tissues.
"Chris?" Nathan looked at the sergeant.
Chris sighed. "Don't tell me."
"Yup." Nathan looked at his friend. "Josiah?"
"Oh, no, brothers. Arthur, you'd better sit beside Virginia." Josiah settled the man beside his wife.
Nathan reached into his pocket, pulling out the plastic bag holding a Polaroid of the victim. "Ma'am, Sir, could you look at this picture for us, see if you recognize the features?"
They took the picture, and a gasp escaped Virginia's lips. "James!"
"This was the jumper, wasn't it?" Arthur turned sad eyes on the officers.
Chris nodded slowly. "We're sorry."
"Then I killed my son." Arthur broke down in sobs. "I hated the boy, but I wouldn't kill him."
Virginia held onto him weakly, her body heaving, and tears flowing. "My boy."
Josiah squatted in front of them, talking to them quietly.
Chris stepped into the kitchen, called Communications, and was connected back to the on-call state's attorney. He explained the situation, and then the state's attorney reached Dr. Mackinac, who joined in the conference call. Decisions were made, and a final determination stood. Chris called the detectives at the station to tell them what was going on, keeping them updated.
Walking back into the living room, Larabee saw Josiah and Nathan doing their best to comfort the couple.
"Mr. And Mrs. Rogers?" Chris cleared his throat.
"Yes?" Arthur looked up.
"I've just spoken with both the medical examiner and the state's attorney regarding this case. We're done questioning the manner; your son's death will be ruled a suicide since he personally loaded the weapon that killed him, and he jumped off the roof with the intent of suicide. No charges will be filed against you, Mr. Rogers. As far as the Four Corners Police Department is concerned, we will take further statements at a later, more convenient time. We're sorry for your loss."
They both nodded, still holding each other tightly, still in shock.
"Can we call someone for you? To stay with you tonight?" Josiah softly asked.
"The neighbors next door," Arthur said. "They're good friends."
Nathan went and got them, leaving the neighbors with the grieving couple.
The officers met up on the parking lot.
Chris shook his head. "Suicide."
"Only right. They didn't know the gun was loaded, and they didn't know he was hoping to have his father kill his mother." Nathan sighed.
Josiah said, "It does present quite a puzzle, brothers. Suicide by jumping, murder by shotgun, arranging the murder of the mother, and dying by the weapon designed for the mother. It sounds almost like a Greek tragedy. I wouldn't be surprised if this turned into an urban legend."
"Stranger things have happened… and we'll probably see them." Chris tipped his police Stetson in their direction. "Time to get back to work."
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