Chapter 57

March 25th, 2011

The Feds

After leaving my condo at 7:15pm, and attending my church meeting at 8:00pm on Friday, I was quickly on I-83 headed north to Adam's Junction by 9:15, and arrived at the road to The Cabin, which was totally-blocked in all directions, by the mud slides from the torrential rains we had last weekend, just after I arrived, stranding me for the entire weekend. The mountainous hillsides had now finally dried-out and I could see many older trees had either slid down or fallen, due to loosening of their root

systems by the rains, and just simple gravity. I pulled into the 1,000ft driveway and parked by the right-side of The Cabin's large deck & picnic table, to unload my duffel bag, AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO) and Beowulf .50cal rifles. The 4 front motion-sensing floodlights had gone on as I drove up to The Cabin, as they should have. I disarmed the building and carried my stuff inside, to a waiting Jenny (the abandoned dog I adopted many months ago). At least she was happy to see me, so I quickly refilled her 3 food and water bowls, while turning-up the furnace and turning-on the lights. Temps were dropping from the nice, mild 76°F, as I left York, into the mid-40s, and would probably go down into the upper-30s by later tonight, here in the mountains. I unpacked, checked the flu in the Living Room, and carried-in 3 more armloads of split firewood from the Firewood Stack on the Back Porch, refilling it from the Firewood Storage Shed in the Backyard, for evening fires.

I called Sgt Clay at the Adam's Junction Police Station, to let him know I was in town and would be available for Deputy Sheriff duty either Saturday or Sunday. I needed one day off to "decompress" and "do nothing" from the week's stress, which I wasn't handling all that well this early, in my 21st Season. He understood and asked me to report on Saturday. Time to get to sleep, as I had to be into the station by 7:30am for a briefing and to pick-up my Police Gear. I closed down and armed the building, turned the furnace down to 68°F. I took them and the Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP into the Master Bedroom with me, for the night. Jenny soon joined me at the foot of the King-sized bed. I was asleep quickly.

Waking-up at 4:15am, I fed and watered Jenny, made breakfast: grits, ½lb of country bacon, 3 sunny-side-up eggs, an English Muffin and French Roast coffee. After doing the dishes and putting them in the sink rack to dry, I made the bed, and shaved, showered in the Bathroom and the dressed for Deputy work at the Adam's Junction. My Deputy Sheriff Badge & ID and Galco 2-extra magazine holster were the order of the day, with plenty of extra ammo mags for the Kimber and both rifles, loaded and ready to go. It was getting light and temps were at 35°F, so I loaded my gear and rifles into the Jeep and headed for town. I could still see the "stains" on the road's surface from the mud slides of last weekend, although all the debris was gone.

I pulled into Parking Space #7, and noticed 15 large Black GMC Suburbans, bearing US Gov't Plates also parked in the lot around back, and went inside the newly-converted Conference Room, where Capt Bunce, Sgt Clay and 2 Deputies were just milling around until I got there to start the meeting. They were joined by the 35-plus Agents from the FBI, BATFE and US Marshalls who were investigating two daylight robberies at First National Bank and 1st Federal Credit Union, on Monday, by the Holtzaples & Co, who supposedly got away with over $1,800,000 in cash. I was briefed, paired with Deputy Tim, and picked-up my Police

Police

Gear at the locker room, after putting on my bulletproof vest under my other outer clothes. Clay was pleased that I wore the vest. I asked Clay if Tim and I got "into it", would I be able to loan him my Beowulf .50cal, instead of him using that worthless, dept-issued 12ga shotgun at 60-100ft? He okayed that and told Tim. We headed my Jeep, with magnetic signs for the doors and the red light for the roof. By 8:05am we were on patrol in my assigned 10-square block of Main street in Downtown Adam's Junction. Just a few cars and trucks out, so I stopped at Roy's Shell Gas & Service Station and quickly gassed-up, and got a receipt. Deputies Alex and Bob would take the outer, rural area and stay in constant radio contact, every 3-5 minutes, in case they came across the Holtzapple's cadre of ID'd pick-up trucks, in that isolated area.

Tim had a "slight hangover" and wasn't as chatty, as he normally was. I felt great without the deleterious effects of alcohol anymore. Plus, my dropping 85lbs (247 to 162) really helped with my energy, alleviated 99% of my back problems and lowered my BP 51-pts.

We completed the entire outer residential circuit in 45 minutes, and were about ready to begin the downtown patrol, when Deputy Alex radioed that he saw a barn with several of the trucks inside and the door half open. They made positive ID with binoculars against plates on the Federal Wanted Sheets. No shots had yet been fired. He gave his "10-20 location", and the FBI, BATFE and US Marshalls were quickly on their way in their "Black 2011 GMC Suburbans", Code 1 (no lights or sirens). I radioed Capt Bunce and Sgt Clay and asked them what they wanted us to do. They said to position ourselves in the northeast quadrant of my sector, out of sight, in case the Feds ran into real trouble and needed our back-up; otherwise stay out of their way, as it was a Federal matter. No problem. We took-up a facing-position with a 100-600x power, long-range Zeiss spotting scope on steadying a stand fixed to the dash, operated by Tim for my shots, and just watched the situation unfold from bad to worse.

From the glass, I could see a very large 1950s farm complex, the barn and many pick-up trucks parked inside, a 3-story white farmhouse and numerous out-buildings, plus much livestock in the grazing fields and at the fenced-in troughs. There was a middle-aged man with a shotgun, sitting on a rocker on the large front porch, ostensibly keeping watch, since the driveway from the side road was over 2,500ft long and there were few other ways of getting near the complex without being seen. I could also see spotters in the upper floor windows, also with scoped deer rifles (30:06cal). Using Tach II, I notified the Feds of what they were up against — the acknowledged and thanked me — but that didn't even slow them down. Two of their Suburbans immediately drove-up the long driveway, causing the man on the front porch, to scurry inside and close the door behind the screen door. More armed men appeared in the many open windows all around the front and sides of the house. I got out of the Jeep, opened the rear tailgate compartment, and began "prepping" the AR-10's scope, loading thirty 25-round magazines, and adding-in several "battle-paks" of .308cal ammo to the now-heavy "Jack Bauer" Satchel Bag I'd have slung over one shoulder. I just knew this wasn't going to end well.

I briefly showed Tim what the .50cal Beowulf was all about, and he was stunned. It would be good only from 100-300 yards, but it delivered a horribly awesome .505 inch lethal punch, and he was way too far away to have any measurable effect right now with it, let alone his service .38cal revolver or Police-issued 12ga shotgun. He'd have to wait until we all stormed the place, if it got that far into a battle, to use it effectively from 50-100ft with great effect.

Right now, it all was totally in the hands of the 2 Suburbans driving-up the long gravel driveway toward the 3-story white farmhouse barn and numerous out-buildings. The other 13 Suburbans and my Jeep were parked out of their immediate rifle range, and awaiting a report from the Feds. The other Feds were busily-donning bulletproof vests, helmets and Kevlar arm-leg-gear, loading automatic rifles, getting tear gas rifles and canisters ready, and even calling-in 3 "black helicopters" to land in the field across the dirt road, unload their "Spec-Op TAC" Teams, power-down and wait for instructions. A place called Waco came to mind, right away. I was getting a little nervous.

I told the BATFE & FBI Commanders that I had clear, clean shots at 15 perps in the windows, but they refused to let me take them out. I put the thumb-safety back on the AR-10, and waited, looking at Tim with a big scowl. The first 400-500 shots came from automatic weapons from inside the farmhouse and barn, and the livestock around back of the barn, scattered into the distant fields. Both Suburbans were riddled and all broken windows were covered with bloodstains, flesh and hair as the SUVs came to a slow stop on the lawn and driveway. There were probably no survivors. I got behind the Jeep's motor on the leeward side from the farmhouse, laid a shooting pad down, set-up my tripod and carefully fitted the AR-10 to it. Off came the Leupold lens' caps and I dialed-in the farmhouse and barn windows. Less than 30 seconds later, the Commanders radioed back, and ordered me to take the shots while they readied a team to get to the 2 Suburbans and see if anyone lived through all that gunfire and carnage.

In under 2¼ minutes, I had quickly and cleanly-hit, at 600yds with my AR-10s .308 (7.62 x 51mm NATO), all 15 perps in the windows of the house and barn, 3 more in the doorways of each structure, and 1 running between them, making it 18 clean kills and 1 "maybe". Sporadic shots were still coming from the house's rooftop "widow's walk", where one of them was sniping at us in the Jeep, and getting painfully close. When he "peeped" around the weathervane structure, I hit him in the forehead, he rolled down the roof and fell 3 stories on to the lawn. Suddenly, except for a forlorn and scared dog's barking, all was quiet. 20 down and dead. The BATFE/FBI On-Scene Commanders called back into the house and no one answered. We wondered if the home's owners had survived the robbers' and murderers' initial break-in. It was Chris and Barb Allison's Farm and property (4th generation), according to Tim. The UH-60L Blackhawk choppers had already taken off before I fired my final shot at the perp on the roof, and were circling the entire property, looking for anyone trying to escape. Clear as far as they could ascertain.

I had a magazine left with 7 of the 20 rounds in it, and 29 more full magazines with 20 rounds in each of them, as back-up, plus the 200-round "battle-pak". I clicked-on the safety and leaned the rifle against the Jeep's fender, turned my back against it and slumped to the ground. "Great shooting, Deputy!" came the response over the crackling radio, from the BATFE/FBI Commanders. By them, multiple Suburbans and 7-8 ambulances had reached the 2 riddled Suburban units in the driveway. All 8 Feds were very dead. Terribly sad. If I had just been allowed to take-out the 18+ perps, all the Feds' deaths could have been easily-avoided. Later I learned that DA Roberts, Capt Bunce and Sgt Atler *pleaded* with the Feds to allow me to do what I do best, based upon my SF3 3-tour record in The Nam: accurate and rapid sniper shots with 752 "confirmed kills". They were all refused permission and it was being done the Feds' way or no way. Sending those 2 units into certain death was crazy, IMO. It all could have been avoided. I noticed that Tim was pouting about it, and put a hand on his shoulder as I understood what he was going through. I also thought about the dead Feds' wives, children, Mothers and Fathers, sisters and brothers. Who would tell them what suicide run they were ordered to undertake.

It was already 12:15pm, and the place was a madhouse, with medical ambulances and personnel, CSI, Coroner's Wagons, Fire Dept, US Marshals, BATFE and FBI scrambling everywhere. Tim and I just sat against the front fender wheel well of my Jeep, and waited it all out, until the Feds came for us. We both were getting hungry, and decided it better to wait until were dismissed to go back on patrol, before getting something to eat. I'd brought along a couple of boxes of snack cracker packages, so we partook of them, with water from our canteens. All too soon, the Feds came to us and the merciless, unending questions began. We were there for and additional 2½ hours, talking into recorders, filling-out forms and finally dismissed around 3:10pm. Tim and I went to Nell's Kitchen Restaurant & Drive-In to grab a sandwich and soft drink to take with us, since we missed so much road time patrolling.

Before long, it was 5:15pm, and we headed back to the Adam's Junction Police Station & Town Hall, and checked-in. Sgt Clay asked if we could stay until 8:00pm, since the place was also a madhouse with Feds everywhere. TV and radio crew trucks were parked all over the street and my #7 space had a big Black Suburban parked in it. No matter; we went back out and did another two circuits of the downtown and outer fringes of my assign 10-square block area, gassed-up at Roy's and got a receipt, and then returned to quit for the day. I filled-out my paperwork, expense report and put my gear into my locker. Two FBI and BATFE Senior Agents approached me and asked if I'd be interested in joining them as a Fed. I told them my "circumstance" in this virtual village, and they said that they were from all over Penna and NJ, and that I'd fit right in, providing I could pass the physical, written and background requirements. My only problem was what to do with my business, when one of them said that the US Gov't would pay double my asking price, to get me on their team as a sniper. I told them I'd give it some thought and they gave me their cards, and said to "think hard and fast". I signed-out to the room's applause of over 60 people, since word had spread about my marksmanship, which also made me a bit nervous.

I drove the darkened, lonely road to The Cabin to unload my gear, water and feed Jenny, shower and get some sleep for the night. I was exhausted; after all, I was now 61 and also 2-3x most of their ages. I wasn't concerned about the written or background; t would be the very, very tough physical obstacle course that I'd have trouble with, as a 50-year smoker. After going inside The Cabin, I noticed a Gov't Black Suburban pull across the driveway entrance, as if to guard it, quickly-armed the building and gathered my Remy 11-87 12ga and Kimber .45cal to take to the Master Bedroom with me for the night. Jenny soon joined me, and kept looking out the BR door, as if "something" was out there.

I had Sunday off, so I took one Lunesta® 1mg, and went to sleep like a baby. I'd consider their Fed job and GC&N "buyout offer" on Sunday, unless I was called-in by Capt Bunce or Sgt Clay for Deputy duty. Jenny's barking and the extensive alarm system would quickly wake me if any intruders tried to force their way in, and both weapons had rounds chambered, full magazines with safeties on, ready for action. Zzzzzzzzz.

It was snowing when I got up on Sunday and we'd already had 3-5", so I turned on the Police Scanner to catch-up on the Dispatcher's chatter. I turned-on my overnight-charged cellphone, which had 6 voice mails in the queue, and they all were from Sgt Clay or the Feds. So I shaved, showered, made Eggs Benedict w/ fresh Hollandaise Sauce, ruby red grapefruit sections and French Roast coffee, before answering the voice mails. It was only 5:20am. Clay urgently wanted to talk to me in private first and the Feds could wait. They'd filled the local B&B (bed and breakfasts) in town and were going to be back at the crime scene all day today. I called Clay and he asked me to meet him at Roy's Shell Gas Service Station, around back of the garage, both cars parked out-of-sight. Now I was really getting nervous. Roy ushered us into his two bays and closed the doors, so we'd have some privacy.

Clay told me that it would be a "golden opportunity" to join the Feds, whatever branch I chose, but that there were "inherent dangers" in doing so. All three — FBI, BATFE and US Marshalls — would love to have my unusual "talents" aboard, but life could get very dangerous and rough with them, at any and all times. He mentioned my 3 (1969-1971) highly-decorated SF3 tours in The Nam and said these guys "more-than-played for keeps", and had no problem throwing their own under the nearest tractor-trailer (nay bus) if the conditions warranted it, to make a case. A Good Sniper like me was very highly-prized, but was legally and physically-expendable, if need be. He said basically that all were "Jack-Booted Thugs", and I'd need to really search my soul if I "sold-out" to them, with the GC&N Complex paid double what it was worth. That meant that "they owned my ass, lock-stock-and-barrel", forever, once Agency protocols and secrets are shared. Kind of like the Mafia: "once you're in, you can't ever get out, alive". Now, I was beyond nervous. At 61, I didn't need this kind of pressure and bullshit in my life. I thanked Clay for his advice and counsel, and we opened the bay doors, only to find 3 Gov't Black Suburbans parked across the street. One or both of our vehicle was GPS'd and they'd followed us, most likely hearing everything Clay had said to me. I took it from there and walked over to the lead SUV.

Special Agent Brian Donahue, BATFE and 4 other Agents were surrounded by electronic gear, so I knew they were eavesdropping and recording. The FBI was in the 2nd Suburban and the US Marshalls were in the 3rd Suburban. Several score more US Gov't SUVs were already at the scene, with a boatload of CSI and they wanted me to come back with them to "reenact what I'd done to drop 19 perps in under 2¼ minutes. I said I'd have to go back to The Cabin and get my AR-10, carrying case, extra magazines, plus the 200-round "battle pak", and Donahue said that one of their units would follow me there and back, for "my safety" from the perps' friends. There were 4 in the SUV with automatic weapons, which I could only drool-over.

I told them that I was possibly close to making a decision to join, but had to check with my immediate family, personal and corporate attorney and realtor, who was handling the very private $10-million sale of my 20-acre, 21-year old Complex to only selected/qualified prospects. Donahue understood and nodded, and asked when I'd have an firm answer. By the end of next week, I hoped after many details and discussions, and after numerous "loose ends" are accounted-for. He nodded again, gave me his card with both his home phone and cellphone on it, plus all his office and TACH numbers. The 3 Suburbans sped-off toward yesterday's crime scene, where CSI and a lot of others were still investigating. I looked around at Clay, and all he could mutter was, "Dammit, dammit, dammit! Be careful, John, please!"

It looked like Sunday was going to be a waste for me, as far as resting-up and reading; I hadn't anticipated all these Feds wanting "a piece of me". One of the US Marshalls, Deputy Chief Tim Johnson, climbed into my Jeep's backseat, after asking permission, to ride shotgun, just in case. I gathered my weapons, added a few layers of clothes and a heavier coat, and I was actually glad for the company on the 45-minute to the other side of the village's rural area, and quizzed him about my favorite TV Show, "Justified", starring Timothy Oliphant. He just laughed and said it wasn't much like the TV Series, though a good entertaining show, with all the US Marshalls getting killed lately, nationwide. He told me that he and hundreds, if not thousands of Fed LEOs (law enforcement officers) avidly read my weekly "Journal" and agreed with 99.7% of what I said, although the NSA, CIA and FBI have 2-3 filing cabinets full of my printed pages and emails from that "Journal", going back to 1996. I was flattered and felt somewhat violated at the same time. He said there was nothing to worry about: I had been issued a PA-CCW since 1990 and had several Class III Weapons with the US Tax Stamps, so I was "clean" to join them if I wanted to do so.

We arrived at the 3-story white farmhouse barn and numerous out-buildings, which had been the site of a terrible loss of life yesterday, mainly due to my duty with my AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with the special Leupold CQ/T Scope, saving countless FED and local LEO lives, but losing 4 on their Commander's (dumb) orders. I was asked to set-up at the same spot on the parallel dirt road, facing the house, hundreds of yards away. There was a semi-circle of BATFE/FBI/US Marshal and local LEO "Snipers" standing around behind me, filming everything I did. When the human-sized silhouettes were put in-place in the house, barn, two other smaller out-buildings (which hadn't happened yesterday at all) and in between the main buildings, my earpiece (from the Commanders) said that I had just under 2¼ minutes to perform the same shots.

I laid my shooting pad on the warm hood of the Jeep, set-up the AR-10 and tripod, laid-out fresh, loaded mags on the pad, readied the Leupold Scope, and waited. Then came the order to *GO*! I picked my targets carefully as I had the day before, and they had added-in 3 add'ls, but no matter, I hit "centermass" and headshot 22 targets in just under 2 minutes, even the target on the house's "widow's walk", much to the FED's amazement. They had it on film, as they did yesterday in the live-fire bloodbath. The FED Snipers had been put to shame, as none of them could do what I did in under 4½ minutes, and many had several misses and non-lethal shot placements. I got so many handshakes and applause that I was truly embarrassed, once again. The three FED Commanders studied and re-studied the films, and joined-in the handshakes. I began cleaning-up spent brass, and packing-away my AR-10 for the ride back to The Cabin — it was now 11:45am — and I was getting hungry for a grilled cheese, homefries and a bowl of tomato soup at Nell's Kitchen, that I excused myself since I wasn't on-duty, and prepared to leave. But I was stopped by one of the Commanders, who wanted to know if I'd come to a decision on joining their teams of Sharpshooters/Snipers. I told him that I hadn't, but was still thinking about it. I explained that the background checks (NCIS) and written tests would be a breeze, but that the physical at 61, with my history of back problems, in a 16-week "boot camp" environment, would definitely be a problem, even though I'd lost 82lbs — from 247lbs to 162lbs — recently. 20 or 30 years ago, this wouldn't even be an "issue" (I hate that word), but now it is. He said that we could "work around that" and that he'd check with the Bureau's (DOJ) Director about "alternatives and options". I said fine, and continued my prep for leaving and eating. Clay and Tim were all smiles and handshakes, and offered to buy lunch. I'd take them up on it this time.

Clay and Tim followed me to Nell's Kitchen to get some lunch, and we were followed by 2 Gov't Black Suburbans, who parked nearby, and walked with us inside. There was already a line formed, and the 4 Feds walked to the head of the line and demanded 2 tables. I grabbed one of their arms, and said that "we don't do that kind of thing around here; we wait our turn". Angered, he jerked loose and went to the back of the line with his 3 companions. Nell came up front with menus and seated 8 more people, and told me that she had the banquet room prepped for me and my "guests". I thanked her graciousness and courtesy, and told the 4 Feds that I'd called-in reservations for a private room for Clay, Tim and I, and that Nell could accommodate them, too. That seemed to assuage their ire. Hot-headed bastards, aren't they? A Federal Badge doesn't mean shit to me, but it sure meant "something" to them; guess "their sh•t doesn't stink". Nell led us into the room, we ordered, ate and Clay gave the bill to the Feds, while we left the 25% tip.

I went back to the Police Station with Clay and Tim to talk about the upcoming weeks' schedules, and he penciled-me-in for 1 more weekend, before my Garden Center Business would make me work 7 days a week, and not offer me any Volunteer Deputy time in Adam's Junction. Unless I could get free by having an employee work for me, I'd be stuck on that schedule until July & August, when we closed on Sundays. At 61, working 7 days a week is way too much "work time" for anyone; me especially. By now, I should have a trusted manager who works weekends and takes 2-3 weekdays off, but I don't. I've looked for 21 years and no one even comes close to that position, around the York area. I drove back to The Cabin at 2:15pm and went inside to relax, do some laundry, house cleaning, feed and water Jenny, and relax by a roaring fire. A Gov't Black Suburban was again parked at the end of my driveway. I armed the building and did my chores before relaxing and continuing with some long overdue reading. By 5:30pm, the Suburban was gone and I decided to call Randy, Roy's son and my driveway's Winter snowplower, to see if he could once again feed Jenny twice daily, if I didn't make it down to The Cabin in April, May and June, due to my new work schedule. He'd done so last Summer, and Jenny liked him. He said he could, for the same $25/ week, plus do some clean-up outside after storms, when needed, for a few bucks more. At least that problem was settled.

I fed and watered Jenny, closed-down, armed The Cabin and headed for York.

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