The time was approaching 7:00 P.M., and Brad Andrews yawned with boredom. Andrews liked action. All detectives did, which is why many had become detectives. Yet, much of the time, surveillance was the reverse. It involved sitting in a vehicle for several hours, peering out the windows, with nothing happening. Even in good weather it was hard to concentrate on an assignment without thoughts turning to that night's dinner, sports, sex, an overdue mortgage payment. . .
The heavy rain had persisted for an hour, making it impossible for the detectives to see clearly what was going on outside, but to turn on the wipers would only advertise that someone was being watched. The patter of water droplets didn't help, either; it was like a soporific drumbeat, lulling the men to sleep.
Thurston, seeing Andrews yawn, cautioned, "Wake up, man! "
"I'm trying," Brad Andrews said, sitting up straight. A seasoned officer, he was one of the detectives borrowed from Robbery for surveillance duty. Andrews was formerly with Homicide, but in an effort to stabilize his family life, he had transferred to Robbery, where the hours were more reasonable. Now, temporarily, he was back.
The special surveillance force comprised twenty-four people: the two sergeants from Homicide, Ainslie and Greene, their two teams of four detectives, plus twelve other detectives from Robbery. Two investigators from the state attorney's office were also sharing the surveillance duty.
"Hey!" Andrews said. "Here's our guy, and would you believe he's combing his hair again?"
Quifiones, an olive-complexioned Hispanic, was tall and lean, with a narrow face and thick, wavy hair that he must have combed two dozen times during the two and a half days Thurston and Andrews had been observing him. Quinones's extensive criminal career included assault, rape, and armed robbery with violence.
Now, accompanied by an unknown bearded male, he entered a yellow, beat-up '78 Chevrolet and drove away. The two detectives, in their Florida P&L van, followed, with Andrews at the wheel.
Quinones went directly to Highway 836, a busy expressway. There, after heading west toward Miami International Airport, he began driving erratically, bumping several cars in the rear an obvious attempt to stop and rob them.
Watching, Thurston griped, "Shit! I'd love to arrest those two bastards."
Andrews nodded. "Yeah, well, maybe we'll have to."
They faced a dilemma, both detectives knew. Their mission was to observe Quinones as a possible serial killer, but if any of the bumped cars stopped, the detectives had a duty to protect their occupants from danger. None of the cars did stop, however, undoubtedly because of the many police and media warnings about that specific danger.
After a while, to the detectives' relief, the bumping ceased and Quinones appeared to have given up.
The yellow Chevy left the expressway at Northwest 57th Avenue, turned south into the western end of Little Havana, and stopped at a 7-Eleven store, where the bearded man got out. Quinones then drove on alone to the south campus of Miami-Dade Community College, at Southwest 107th Avenue and 104th Street. It was a long, tedious ride, taking most of an hour, and Andrews, still driving the undercover van, dropped back as much as possible without losing sight of the Chevy.
By now it was 8:30 P.M., and Quinones stopped in the college parking lot within sight of students walking to and from evening classes. The detectives saw some women students abruptly turn their heads as they passed Quinones's car. Apparently he had called out, though none of the women stopped.
Thurston leaned forward and muttered, "This dude has assaults and a rape on his sheet. You don't think . . ."
As he spoke, Quifloneslefthis car and began following a young blond woman to another portion of the parking lot.
"Let's go!" Thurston jumped from the van, with Andrews behind.
Quifiones was within twenty feet of the young woman when she reached her car a red Honda jumped in, started the engine, and pulled away. Quifiones ran to his own car, still unaware of the detectives, who were also darting back to their van.
As the blond woman's car passed Quifiones's, he drove out behind it. The detectives were now following both cars.
"Don't let that son of a bitch out of your sight," Thurston warned. "If this is our guy, we don't want another corpse."
Andrews nodded. He was staying closer to the yellow Chevy now, reasoning that Quinones's attention was focused on the red Honda ahead. The three vehicles moved north on Southwest 107th Avenue amid light traffic until, without warning, the Honda swung abruptly right onto Southwest Eighth Street, the Tamiami Trail. Quifiones, clearly not ready for a turn, braked, skidded well into the wide intersection, then turned sharply to follow.
"She's on to the bastard," Thurston said.
Quifiones's pursuit of the Honda was further delayed by another car about to turn out of Eighth Street. He reversed a few feet more, then, with tires squealing, made the right turn. Andrews, who had held back through the last block, followed. Then, as traffic cleared, the detectives saw the blond woman leave her car, which was now in a parking area of a high-rise apartment complex. She walked quickly to the lobby, using a key to open a main doorway. Almost at once she was inside, the door closed behind her.
Moments later, Quinones's yellow Chevy pulled up near the Honda. Andrews drove the van into the parking lot and pulled into a space where the detectives could both see Quinones, still seated in his car, and the apartment building directly ahead. After a few minutes they saw lights go on in one of the lower-floor apartments, with the blond woman clearly visible through a window. Only for a moment, though. Crossing the room, she pulled draperies across the window.
"She knows he's out there," Thurston said.
"Yeah, and he may have tailed her before. Probably knows the apartment."
Suddenly Thurston shouted, "Shit! He's gone." While they had been looking up at the window, Quinones had left his car and moved to the apartment building doorway, where he was entering behind another figure.
Both detectives flung their van doors open and raced to the door. Andrews wrenched at it, but it was securely closed. By now no one was visible inside. Thurston immediately started pressing buttons on the residents' speaker system. "Police officers!" he cried out. "We're chasing a suspect. Open the front door, please."
Many, he knew, would be suspicious, but someone might . . .
Someone did. A loud buzz sounded. Andrews called over, "It's open!" and they both rushed in.
"What floor was she on?" Andrews queried. "I'd say the third."
Thurston nodded. "Get up there!"
A hallway contained two elevators, both closed. Andrews hit a call button, then abruptly the doors of one opened and an elderly woman slowly emerged, with a Pekingese on a leash. The dog seemed reluctant to move. Thurston settled the matter by picking it up and dumping it outside. As the woman opened her mouth to protest, both detectives were already inside the elevator, Andrews jabbing the third-floor button, then a lower button to close the doors. But the machinery was unhurried; only after a pause, while the two men fumed, did the doors slide together.
At the third floor they hurried out, turning right toward where they judged they had seen the blond woman through her window. But the corridor was silent, and no door was open. Thurston knocked at two doors without response.
"Nothing here!" he pronounced. "Has to be the fourth floor. Use the stairs!" He headed for a doorway marked FIRE EXIT, Andrews following. They bounded up concrete steps, then through another door, emerging on a corridor matching the one below. A few yards away an apartment door was open, with part of the door splintered. At the same moment two loud blasts, clearly gunshots, sounded through the apartment doorway. As both detectives paused, drawing their guns, they heard four more shots in quick succession.
Thurston, his face set grimly, moved against the wall on the same side of the corridor as the open door. Motioning Andrews to stay behind him, he whispered, "I'll take this one. Cover me."
Small sounds could be heard through the open doorway light footsteps briefly, then several indistinct thuds while Thurston approached carefully. Then, with gun extended, he put his head cautiously around the doorway. Almost at once he lowered the gun and stepped inside. Beyond a small hallway, in what appeared to be a living room, Quiflones was facedown on the floor, unconscious, in a pool of blood. His right arm was extended, a sharpedged, gleaming knife close by. It was a pearl-handled switchblade, Thurston noted. The woman, who looked older than she had from a distance, was seated on a circular ottoman. She held a gun pointed downward; her body was slumped, hair a mess, face dazed.
Thurston approached her. Pointing to the gun, he said, "I'm a police officer. I'll take that." He observed it was a .22 Cal Rohn automatic pistol that held six shots, the number he had heard fired. Obediently she held the gun out to him. Taking a pen from his shirt pocket, he placed it in the trigger guard, handling the weapon so no contamination of fingerprints would occur, and, for the time being, put it on a table to the side.
Andrews entered cautiously, then went straight to Quiflones's body and checked for vital signs. "He's gone," he pronounced. Then, moving the body slightly, he asked Thurston, "Did you see this, Charlie?" He pointed to the trousers front, where the zipper was down and Quiflones's penis protruded.
"No, but it figures." As the detectives knew, rapists often exposed themselves, believing the sight would turn women on. Thurston added, "Better get Fire-Rescue here to confirm he's dead."
On his portable police radio, Andrews transmitted, "Nineteen-thirty-one to dispatcher."
"Send me Fire-Rescue to 7201 Tamiami Canal Road, apartment 421, to check a possible forty-five. Also send a two-man unit for crowd control, and dispatch an ID unit, too."
Within less than a minute, approaching sirens could be heard outside as uniform police and Fire-Rescue medics responded to the call. An ID team, though traveling with less urgency, was undoubtedly on the way.
Thurston made a radio call to Sergeant Malcolm Ainslie, as head of the special task force, informing him of developments.
"I'm close by," Ainslie said. "Be with you in minutes."
Andrews, meanwhile, had begun crime-scene routine, making notes, then questioning the woman, still seated.
"Your name, miss, please?"
With an effort she seemed to collect her thoughts, though her hands were shaking. "Dulce Gomez."
She was single, she reported, thirty-six years old, and lived in this apartment. She had been in Miami ten years. She was attractive, Andrews thought, though with a certain hardness to her.
She was employed by Southern Bell as a phone-repair technician, Gomez told him. In the evenings she attended classes at Miami-Dade Community College, where she was majoring in telecommunications. "I want to get a better job."
Thurston, who had joined them, motioned toward Quinones's body. "Do you know this man, Dulce? Had you seen him before he followed you today?"
She shuddered. "Never!"
"We've been watching him. It's possible he might have done this before without your knowing."
"Well . . . now you ask, couple of times I did have a feeling someone was..." She stopped, remembering. "That pendejo sure knew the apartment number, must have come straight up."