Officer Down

Wednesday; 11:30 p.m.,
Nakuru, Kenya;

Superintendent Richard Nixon Kimanzi, a veteran police officer, honked the horn of his self-drive official police car for the gateman to open the gates for him at his Section 58 residence.
 His house was situated a short distance from Nakuru town, a few meters from the railway line. There had been a lot of work at the office, paperwork, to close his three-year-old case. The case had turned out to be expensive for the station for it was not forthcoming. The only option was to close it and stack the file in the cabinet of unsolved cold cases. That’s why he was getting home late, after missing the family dinner for the third time in a row.

            Hardly had he entered his bedroom when his cell phone vibrated. The caller ID indicated ‘Private’ and apprehension of such calls gripped him. He never picked strange calls, but he found himself answering this.

            “I know the drugs and Mugiki connection to the spate of murders and robberies that you want to solve,” the caller said. “Meet me at Taidy’s in thirty; I’ll give you more info.” And with that the caller hung up.

            The idea was alluring, but the thought of it was risky. However, Richard gave way to temptation and decided to risk. The caller had mentioned one fact that was known only to him and the government pathologist – the murder victims had traces of cocaine and heroin in their systems and a note, more like a calling card, forced down their throats or other orifices with Mugiki written on them. He’d decided to hold on to this info not to cause alarm about the reemergence and change of modus operandi of the outlawed sect.

            The pressure mounting on him to close the case while every part of him wanted to catch the killer, or killers, brought ominous desperation. In fact, another murder had been reported at Lanet, near the Third Battalion the Kenya Rifles barracks, that evening.

            When he told his wife that he’d be back by midnight, he got what he expected. But he had to go.

            On the way he made calls to units on patrol in the area to converge at the club Taidys. Whoever the caller was would sleep at the comfort of one of the cells at Central Police station.

            At the Kenyatta Avenue roundabout he was flagged down by a traffic police officer – odd for traffic police to be one duty at this hour of the night in Nakuru. Seldom would you spot one after seven o’clock, 7:30 p.m. if you’re that lucky.

            Afande, is there a problem?” the cop asked.

            “Nay, just routine check,” Richard answered. Well, that was true. Richard was known to prowl the streets at night checking whether those on night patrols were actually doing their work and not up to some mischief.

            “But you’re supposed to be home. This is not your work. You should leave the streets to us.”

            “It doesn’t cost a thing to lose a few hours sleep to check on how you guys are doing,” 
Richard told his junior officer – he liked the officer’s confidence.

            “Exactly,” the policeman said. “That’s why we want you to get a message to your colleagues, those whom you’ve rallied and think like you. You are interfering with us, and that must stop.”

            “It was you…” realization was like wavelets of a coming storm on a calm sea on Richard.

            “Yes,” the policeman replied, pulling the trigger of a concealed pistol.

            The nine millimeter fired at point blank range. “You should have stayed where you belong. Get your fat pay-slip and enjoy privileges that befit you, leave the streets we prowl to us. You are getting too close to us, and you made the connection that it’s us who’re the most feared in Nakuru of late. If only you could get us better pay…”

            The traffic cop fired two more shots into Richard’s chest, then one head shot. He then turned and fired in the air, kind of police-gangster shoot out scene.

            Street families that frequented Kenyatta Avenue outside Shik Park Hotel, Shoppers Paradise and Tuskys Supermarket ran for cover; and prostitutes who’d not yet been picked ducked into the nearby clubs that were almost closing – thanks to Mututho Law.

            “Officer down! Officer down!” the traffic policeman yelled in his radio as he fired at the same time.

Copyright ©Vincent de Paul, 2012.