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Space Needle Case

By D. E. Harrison

Copyright 2010 by D. E. Harrison

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Tumble

Chapter 2 The Last Half of the First Day.

Chapter 3 Day Two

Chapter 4 The Second Day in the Afternoon.

Chapter 5 Day Three

About D. E. Harrison

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Chapter 1 The Tumble

Seattle is one city where very few people even own an umbrella, no less use it. But a few people will carry one in January, when it may rain 33-days straight in January. Even the slugs use a boat during this time.

The rainfall has been the normal four inches plus a month since March through June. The weather in Seattle has a few local descriptions that will mean something only to the locals. Such as, ‘occasional sun breaks’ means you will have intermittent showers. The ‘filtered sun’ means a continual mist will be falling. Partly cloudy means less than 1/4 of an inch of rain. Lastly, no matter how much it rains there will never be a mud puddle for the kids to play in several hours later.

It is not raining, nor has it been for three days in this somewhat wet city. This is most welcome by the tourists and hotels. But such a long dry spell does have some people looking to the sky for relief. The tourists are out like worms after a heavy rain. The lines of tourists are long everyplace. The Pike Place market, a huge tourist trap is packed. The Seattle Center is not as much as it was in the past. Now it is just a few indoor shops and a few outdoor tourist’s traps.

Of course, the Space Needle has lines of people going around the base of the Needle waiting to go up to the observation deck. On a day like today, one can see for ten miles. If you walk slowly around the observation deck, you can see in every direction. They are counting the people going up and back down. This is to keep within the number set by some city hall bean counter that has never been to the Needle. The average time is about seventeen minutes per person on the observation deck. The elevators provide a steady stream of people going up and coming down. There is more crowing around in the lines waiting for the elevators going up to the observation deck than those going down. There is security to handle the crowd trying to go up. Up on the observation deck security’s only job is to insure the elevators going down are full. On a good day the elevators speed is ten miles per hour. This make the trip of four hundred feet last only thirty seconds or so. The Needle is well over 500 feet tall with the observation deck at the 520-foot level. The restaurant below the deck makes a complete revolution every 47-minutes. A one-horse motor power’s it. Not a team of slugs as some tourists would claim.

They have security guards very visible with the crowds waiting in lines all around the base of the Needle. They have fewer noisy unhappy tourist when an officer in a uniform is nearby. It also stops any street people from becoming a nuisance.

There are screams from the crowd around the base of the Needle as they are taking picture. Some people are looking almost straight up. With a terrible crushing blob of a sound, a body smashes into the concrete pavement around the north side of the Needle.

The body of a man dressed in a dark blue suit is starting to ooze dark red blood from under him. Security is on the phone to their security manager, which has cameras on the entire Needle.

The security manager sees the body on the pavement saying in his radio, “Control the crowd and keep them back. I will call the police and send more officers to help you. I am on my way. Touch nothing.”

The calls to the 911 dispatcher are many and quick. They mostly say, “A man just fell off the Space Needle and smashed into the sideway. Send help quickly.” Click.

The Needle’ security’s call is quick and complete to the police. “We have a person down outside the south entrance to the Needle. It appears he is seriously injured for some reason. My security staff is securing the area and rendering assistance as much as possible. I have no idea at this time of what may have happened. I will be on the scene in just a minute. We may need several aid cars, I do not know but it may be wise to send them.”

As luck would have it, a TV crew is filming the sunshine and tourists at the Needle. At 1:07 pm, they film a body slamming into the pavement. It is a blue blur for maybe five feet hitting the cement behind the TV anchor as they are filming her. They continue to film for about a minute and then security starts to push them literally from the scene. When the film crew gets a little pushy back, several security officers under the direction of the security manager physically remove them behind some tapelines.

The manager gives them the hard stare, “Be good or you will lose your gear and be arrested.”

In three minutes, the filming from the Needle not only goes onto tape back in the studios but it is put on the air live from the scene. The Chief of Detectives is told of the problem at the Needle about the same time as from the Captain in dispatch and the TV he was told to turn on.

The TV crew, like all reporters has it solved before anything is known.

She reports, “We have graphic film of a person jumping off the Space Needle in Seattle. We have the actual filming of him as is falling and hitting the pavement. It is a scene of mass confusing as aid has been called for. We will continue to broadcast live from the scene.”

Someone comes up and blocks the camera with a hand, “Please move back. You are interfering. Please move back or you will be arrested, and your equipment taken from you.”

The arrival of three more security guards and the TV people finally back off to where they are told to go.

The Chief of Detectives knows how dispatch will handle the call that is not his problem. It will be well managed. He picks up his phone and pushes one button only.

In Inspector Strong’s office, he picks up the phone. “Yes Chief, I am leaving now. I will check in with the commander onsite.”

The Inspector’s name is Strong. Earl Strong, class of 1940, University of Texas. He was a Major in the Military Police. Early 60’s, what there is of his hair has been buzzed into a Crew cut. Always with a green 1940’s felt hat, brim bent down in front. A cigar his Dr. says he can chew but not smoke

Usually his homicide detectives compile the data from the crime scene and then poke it around some. He may read a particularly difficult case to assist them. His case closure for his section is a legend in the entire western half of the country. He has had many job offers to leave, even some at the federal level. His wife will never move, and so he stays where he is. Seldom does any case withstand his personal assault for more than several days.

He is a fishing buddy with the Regional FBI Director, Ted McClearly

He grabs his hat as he is going out the door. He motions for his two detectives to follow him. He turns slightly to his left to look at Detective Smith.

The senior Detective Smith is the ‘go by the book’ type. He grinds out cases with hard, solid police work, been on the force for nineteen years. He is of the old school and the suit coat never comes off. Nothing seems to bother him on the outside. He is famous for his Sears’s Suckers suits. Occasionally when things are going not too well, Detective Smith starts to rub his full head of hair. Every hair has been trained for forty years. No matter what happens, they do return to their chosen place, after he has a good rub.

Next, he gives Detective Rage a quick glance.

The rookie Detective Janet Rage has been on the Police force for almost six years. She is bright, aggressive, and dedicated to the job. She takes a fair amount of ribbing about her last name and the color of her hair. It usually goes on until they see her empty a clip of sixteen rounds at thirty yards into a 4-inch circle. If that is not enough, she will crack a few ribs, and she will do it again in the gym.

A year earlier, she had completed the Detective training course at the academy. She finished in second place, the other woman there finished twelfth out of the fifteen candidates. In such a large metropolitan police force, her new duty assignment could have been one of many. She did not know until Monday after graduation her exact assignment.

Detective Rage has been with the Inspector for almost a year.

At a police station elevator, the Inspector pulls out a private elevator key and it is an express to the garage and a car. The Chief has an officer waiting for them in a running squad car. Detective Rage sits up front with the driver. Inspector Strong and Detective Smith are in the back seat.

The car with all its lights and sirens going pulls out of the underground garage makes a hard left, then a right and races up Third Ave.

The driver says, “The Chief said I was to get you to the Space Needle as quickly as possible. I know nothing more than that.”

Detective Rage has her phone out; trying to understand what is going one.

She says to everyone and no one. “It is reported that a fellow jumped off the Space Needle and that the TV crew filmed it. It is going to be a mess up there.”

The car races down Third Avenue, makes a sharp right, then a left. The Needle is just three blocks ahead. The security manager has two guards at the main entrance. They have pulled the huge blocking timbers for the aid cars and they wave the patrol car through. The second guard points the road they should take and where the problem is. The aid car is right up on the sidewalk next to the Needle. The crowd is now back about half a block. More police are running from the south entrance to the scene for more and better crowd control.

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