Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
Scott and the others run after Nunsay. Scott shouts, “You two, stop. You are under arrest.”
Nunsay stops running as he reaches the waiting van, pulls a revolver and fires at Scott. Scott winces as the round grazes his ribs, but gets off two shots at Nunsay’s legs. Nunsay goes down writhing in pain from the sting of the 45 Caliber slug buried deep in his right thigh. Nunsay’s partner, unknown to this point, stands shaking beside the van. The driver sits silently with his hands placed on top of his head.
As soon as the situation cooled down, Martin Wolfe, his handcuffed hands behind his back, was roughly escorted by two detectives to one of the unmarked cruisers and rushed off to Massachusetts State Police headquarters. His hands were freed on the way, and an explanation given of the fake arrest.
Scott and Albert Nunsay, in separate ambulances, were rushed to Beth Israel Hospital, while the van driver and Nunsay’s, yet unidentified accomplice, were hauled off to Boston City Jail.
Sgt. Allan Rockford, in Scott’s car, followed the ambulance transporting Scott. On the way, he radioed Riverville PD to inform ATF man Henry Reichmann and Detective Hendersen of the recent events. At the hospital, he walked along with the gurney carrying Scott to the E. R.
“That’s not much more than a very painful scratch,” the E.R. doctor told Scott as he injected a pain killer near the wound, and applied a compress. “You can wait. The other guy is in worse shape.”
Rockford pulled a chair close to the Gurney. “That’s good news. You will probably be out of here in a couple of hours. I’ll just hang around. That was a close one, wasn’t it? We got there just in time. A minute later and they would have had Agent Wolfe in that van. Would you like something to drink, Sir, Coffee – a Pepsi?”
“Yes, actually I would like a nice hot cup of coffee -- black. If you don’t mind.”
“Not at all. I’ll have one as well,” Rockford said as he hooked his badge over the breast pocket of his sport jacket, and headed to the nurse’s station; knowing the coffee there is better than out of a machine.
Returning with the coffee to Scotts cubicle in the ER, Rockford encountered the doctor attending Nunsay.
“How is Mr. Nunsay’s wound, doctor.”
“The slug almost went entirely through his thigh, but missed the bones. He’s lucky in that respect, but he’s not going to be walking for quite a while. I hate it when I see a wound by a “45”. There is always a lot of deep clean-up and closing associated with them. Smaller slug wounds are much cleaner unless they go through and leave a jagged exit hole. He is in the process of being stabilized. We have controlled the bleeding, but he won’t go to surgery for a couple of hours. Tell Mr. Wadsworth I’ll be in to see him soon. Where his wound is not serious, I think we can get him patched up without going to a surgical suite. However, to be on the safe side, I want him to stay here for a couple of hours to make sure there is no residual shock to his system.”
“Thanks, Doc. I’ll pass this on to Mr. Wadsworth.”
While handing Scott his coffee, Rockford related the information from the ER doctor and asked, “Should I call Mrs. Wadsworth for you?”
“Oh no, it’s better I tell her in person. Otherwise, she will be here before I can leave. She often gets over anxious.”
“One thing you can do is radio Carl Hendersen in Riverville and tell him what happened. He’s expecting me there today. Also, tell him I’ll call him as soon as possible.”
Kelly Adams’s Aunt Helen, with much effort, finally has the family seated at the table for lunch and make an announcement. “I received a phone call from your uncle Carl this morning, Kelly. He asked me to tell you that things at home are being finalized and cousin Francis will be here to take you home tomorrow about two in the afternoon.”
“Really!” Kelly responded. That’s wonderful. Not just for me, but that they are close to closing a very complicated case. I’ll miss you all very much. However, you aren’t getting rid of me. To be truthful, I dreaded spending time in the country, on a farm, with no friends and nothing to do. I was so mistaken. My time with you all has been delightful and I love you all, and I’ll be returning as often as possible to Vermont.”
The family applauded Kelly as she sat and the oldest of her cousins said, “Kelly, you have brought a ray of sunshine into our lives. We love you as well, and welcome you into our home whenever you wish to come.”
Kelly’s cousin Francis, accompanied by Anthony Marzano, parked the car near the rear door at one-forty-five the next afternoon. The sight of Marzano caused Kelly’s heart to jump, and it frightened her. She is strangely embarrassed, bringing an instant blush to her cheeks, and an awareness that this is the first time anything like this has happened to her.
“I hardly know this man,” she scolded herself.
Setting in their favorite bar, under the expressway at the edge of Southie, Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne, who quickly got word of Nunsay’s arrest and the apprehension of Sean Keogh, are wondering how it happened
Mc Dougal draws on his pipe and says to Byrne, “And they got Nunsay in the act of trying to grab Keogh from off the street. From what I heard, it was an actual pinch of Keogh, handcuffs and all. Do you think we could have been wrong about Keogh? Maybe he was on the up-and-up, and not an ATF man after all.”
“Well, we’ll never know the whole story for sure. I just hope no one ties us in with Nunsay. You know, we were quite free with meeting him where others were around. We could be in those handcuffs soon. Maybe we should talk to the boss about getting out of town for a while.” Byrne replied before he downed the last of a bottle of beer.
That evening Nancy Wadsworth is barely speaking to Scott, but after the boys are in bed she settles in beside Scott on the sofa, looks at him sternly and says, “What were you thinking? Obviously, it wasn’t about the boys and me. A couple of inches to the left and that bullet would have punctured your lung. You could be dead by now.
“Nancy, please. I’m tired and I hurt. Can we put this off until tomorrow?”
“I am sympathetic about your situation, but no. I need an answer.”
“OK, I was thinking of the same thing my job has caused me to consider for a while now; the murder of a Federal Agent and the potential killing of a second one. Also, the fatal peril of an innocent twenty-two-year-old girl, and daughter of a friend. Then there is the shipment of illegal arms to the Irish Republican Army, to ostensibly be used to kill innocent people in a fight that in actuality could be settled by some serious and truthful talking, and eventual legislation. All this because of two gangs of mobsters. One ruling Somerville and the other South Boston. But it goes much deeper. The money collectors across the country who badger folks to support this Irish conflict under the guise of charity, and the financiers who launder this money and dispense it for illegal activities. This is my duty as an attorney, an officer of the court, a member of the state police as Chief Investigator for the State’s Attorney. Most of all, because I am a loyal American who wants to see that we have an upstanding and impartial view of foreign affairs, but to intervene when a faction of society sends this goal off-track. In no way does this detract from my duty to you and our boys. In a way, it is part and parcel of the same duty men have honored since the American Revolution.”
“Well, that was some speech, Mr. Investigator. I should know better than to argue with the best lawyer in the state,” Nancy said before she grabbed Scott in a bearhug and kissed him. “I’m very sorry. I shouldn’t have come at you that way. It’s just that you frightened me, getting wounded in a fire fight. Please wear some protection when you think there will be a possibility of gun fire.”
“I promise. The force recently purchased bullet proof vest. I’ll put in a requisition tomorrow for my driver and myself.”
Sgt. Allan Rockford turned the car onto Walnut Street at seven A.M., just as Scott closed the gate to his front yard.
“Good morning Allan. I have good news. I’ve put in a verbal requisition this morning for bullet proof vest for us and got the OK. I’ll send in a written requisition from the office later. We might be the first to have them, but all state troopers will have them in a week or so – a big step forward.”
“That’s great, sir. I was thinking about that last night. It would have saved you a lot of pain. Where to today, sir?”
“Riverville, please. Now that Nunsay is in custody, it’s time to confront James Hurley and then set up a meeting with Chief Grant of Somerville in preparation to clean up the Compton Hill gang. I have state detectives and Boston cops on everyone we know is, or might be, associated with Nunsay and that gang in Southie.”
About half way to Riverville, Scott phoned Carl Hendersen.
As soon as Carl heard Scotts voice, he interrupted. “Scott, are you OK? I heard, on the news last night, about Nunsay’s arrest and you being wounded.”
“It’s just a scratch, Carl. I’m fine and on my way to Riverville. I want to talk Hurley first and then to you and the chief, as well as Henry Reichmann regarding Somerville. I think it’s time to clean them out. Between The info Sullivan sent me, whatever we can get out of Hurley and anything Chief Grant has, we should be able to do a thorough job of it.”
“Looking forward to it, Scott. I’ll alert the chief and Reichmann that you are on your way. By the way, Hurley has been silent. I think he figures we don’t have much on him, but he is obviously scared to death – doesn’t eat much and paces around in his cell all the time.”
“Then we have a big surprise for him,” Scott said with a chuckle.
Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
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