Sam Braddock had lost control. He wasn’t sure how it had happened; the subject had de-escalated and had agreed to release his hostages. The situation was going to be contained and Sam couldn’t remember any other hot call where a successful conclusion was going to be as welcome.
The door to the Timmy’s opened. Sam trusted that his Sierra was looking for the subject in case he re-escalated but Sam was sure he wouldn’t show himself until he absolutely had to. Sam’s own eyes were on every face that left the coffee shop, searching for the three faces he would recognize, two of which he needed to see with every fiber in his body.
Shots rang out from several different directions but none that came from where he knew his Sierra to be. Bodies of the hostages emerging from the coffee shop thinking the nightmare was over collapsed on the sidewalk, dead before they ever hit the ground. Suddenly Sam was glad he hadn’t seen who he was looking for.
“Status! Where are those shots coming from?” Sam yelled into his headset, hoping his personal panic didn’t bleed through.
“We think there were snipers on several of the rooftops. We’re heading there now.”
Sam looked back to the coffee shop and the fallen victims just steps away from safety. The danger inside the coffee shop had been real. A man with a gun and a bomb set to go over in less than ten minutes. Instead they were cut down by unseen sniper fire. Unsuspectingly led to their deaths like lambs to the slaughter. How fair was that?
Reaching once more for his cell phone, Sam redialed the number to the shop. The phone just rang without any sign of anyone answering. Sam swore under his breath and terminated the call. “What’s the status on the shooters?”
“Sam, I don’t have visuals on the shooters but I can see the glint of the sun on at least three muzzles coming from the east, south, and west buildings. They’re still in position. The situation is not contained. I repeat it is not contained.”
“Copy that.” Sam acknowledged. “Hold Sierra position in case our subject inside the coffee shop emerges. The rest of you, proceed with caution but with haste. We’re running out of time on that bomb. We don’t know how many are still in that shop with the subject.” He didn’t know how many were still inside but he knew how important at least three of the hostages were.
He tried the phone again but still received no answer. He wanted to growl in frustration. Negotiations had never been his strong point but as the new Team Leader he sometimes had no choice. In this case, he just couldn’t trust anyone else to handle such an important negotiation. No one else had as much to lose.
“Shooters in custody.”
The words were music to Sam’s ears. That would free him up to approach the shop and try to resolve things. He had to get inside, had to free the rest of the hostages. He’d barely taken two steps when an explosion rocked the coffee shop. The glass windows along the front of the building as well as on the door burst out and then the whole building just seemed to cave in on itself.
Sam sank to his knees as a scream tore from his throat. Nothing anyone around him was doing registered with him. It was as if everything ceased to exist except for the rubble that had once been a Tim Hortons. A hand gripped his shoulder and a familiar voice called his name, trying to bring him back to reality. Only dimly did he realize that Team One had arrived on scene to back up his team. It was Ed’s hand on his shoulder but he had a feeling the rest of the team wasn’t far away. He couldn’t answer Ed though. Couldn’t even hear what his former teammate was saying. All he could focus on was what it seemed like he’d lost.
Tears streamed down his face. Strong arms tried to pull him to his feet, tried to pull him away from the sight before him but he couldn’t allow that to happen. If he looked away, if he moved, he might miss something important, something vital. He couldn’t move until he knew for sure that his world was intact and that he hadn’t lost everything that was important to him.