"Gear up," the Boss hollered as he hung up his phone and pulled his desk drawer open and removed his weapon and badge from it.
"What've we got, Boss?" DiNozzo asked as he rounded his desk, backpack already on his shoulder.
"A dead M.P. Gas it up, DiNozzo," Gibbs ordered, tossing the keys of the truck to his senior agent.
"Where are we heading?" McGee asked as he followed the senior agent.
"Quantico armoury," Gibbs replied as the elevator door closed.
There was a hive of activity around Quantico as the two NCIS trucks arrived. Gibbs disembarked swiftly and immediately sought out the senior officer on scene. Ziva, DiNozzo and McGee unpacked their gear and entered the cordoned off area at the front of the armoury. A Military Police vehicle was positioned across the front of the building, close to the main door. Both the passenger and driver's doors were wide open. Lying face down close to the passenger door was a uniformed military police officer. From the pool of congealed blood in which he lay, it was obvious that he had met a vicious and gory demise. The side of the vehicle was comparable to Swiss cheese, given the number of bullet holes that had peppered it.
Ziva raised her camera and carefully and diligently photographed the scene. McGee took notes and catalogued the dozens of spent casings that littered the area. DiNozzo noticed a pale and shaken looking M.P. being cared for by a paramedic at the rear of an ambulance just outside the police tape. He approached the paramedic and asked after the young man.
"Is he hurt?" DiNozzo enquired compassionately.
"Just shaken up," the paramedic replied. DiNozzo nodded and proceeded over to speak to the young police officer. He introduced himself.
"I'm Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS. Do you think you could answer a few questions for me?"
The M.P. nodded and looked up at him his eyes telling of the horror he had just survived.
"Can you tell me how this went down?" Tony asked getting straight to the point.
""Yeah," the officer replied, taking a deep breath. "We got the call over the base radio. The alarm at the armoury was going off. We were pretty close by and were the first to arrive. As we pulled up, they were already leaving."
"They? How many?" Tony interrupted.
"Three, that I saw. Before we had even stopped the car, one of them opened up on us with an automatic weapon. Brandon, I mean Officer Slade, was hit before we stopped. Still he grabbed his weapon, got out of the car and returned fire. He never stood a chance. I was driving and he drew their fire so I could get out. I tried to reach back into the car to radio for help but the radio had been all shot up," he explained.
"Did you get a good look at the shooters?" Tony asked.
"Not really. I was too busy trying not to get my head blown off. Only one of them fired on us though. The other two were carrying out duffle bags. They just ran around the side of the building," he told him.
"Did they have a vehicle waiting around there?" Tony enquired.
"I think so. I didn't see it but I heard a vehicle speed away when the shooting stopped," he informed him.
"Did you go after them?"
"No, Sir! I was trying to see if I could help my partner," he explained forlornly.
"That's okay," Tony replied, touching the young man on the shoulder. "I'm sorry about your friend."
Officer Wesley James bit his quivering lip and bravely fought back the tears that were welling up in his eyes. DiNozzo felt his pain. He couldn't imagine losing one of his team. Sombrely, he returned to the scene.
Meanwhile Gibbs was inside the armoury talking to Lt. Commander Philip Harris.
"They knew what they were doing," the Commander told Gibbs.
"Can you tell what's missing yet?" Gibbs enquired.
"From initial inspection it looks like a number of Beretta 9mm, Glocks, at least one case of grenades and a number of high powered sniper rifles. The ammo store is missing some boxes too. I'll get a more detailed inventory to you as soon as I can," he promised
Gibbs looked around the room in which they stood. Some boxes and cabinets remained undisturbed, telling him that the raiders knew what they were looking for. They seemed to be pretty specific in what they took.
"I'll need a list of all personnel with access to this building," Gibbs said routinely.
"Of course. Do you think some of my men were involved, Agent Gibbs?"
"Could be. Looks like they knew what they wanted and where to find it," he explained, glancing around the room again. Just then McGee entered, carrying his camera and pack.
"Ducky's with the victim, Boss. I thought I'd get started in here," McGee said awkwardly, wondering whether he should have interrupted the Commander and Gibbs. He stood and looked at Gibbs waiting for some acknowledgement. Gibbs just glared back at him.
"Well, you waiting for an invitation, McGee?" Gibbs asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Yes, Boss. I mean no Boss," McGee stammered as he turned and raised his camera towards the open cabinets. Gibbs smiled over at the Lt. Commander who also saw the humour of the moment.
Gibbs left the armoury, where McGee busied himself lifting prints and sifting through evidence. Gibbs found Ducky outside, kneeling over the body of the recently deceased M.P.
"Time of death, Duck?" he asked straight away, knowing it would wind Ducky up.
"Oh, Jethro. So impatient! Let me see, liver temp would indicate this gentleman died somewhere between 5 and 6 hours ago. And if you're going to ask me cause of death, I think it's pretty obvious, don't you?" Ducky said, referring to the multiple bullet wounds and large pool of blood in which he knelt. Gibbs nodded and smiled wryly at his old friend. They knew each others ways so well.
"Mr. Palmer can you get the gurney from the truck please?" Ducky asked his eager apprentice.
"Certainly Doctor," came the reply.
Gibbs looked up and saw DiNozzo walking around to the side of the building. He decided to follow him.
"DiNozzo!" he called as he got closer, giving Tony a start.
"Boss! The witness said he thought the raiders had a vehicle waiting for them around here. Thought I'd check it out," Tony explained.
"Was he able to give you much?" Gibbs asked, as they continued walking.
"He's pretty shaken up, Boss. All he could remember was seeing three guys, one did all the shooting, the others carried the loot I guess," Tony said allowing himself a little smile at the "loot" reference. He didn't get too many cases involving loot.
"Negative. Males, average height, white, maybe Hispanic. He didn't get a good look. He was busy keeping his head down," DiNozzo explained.
Gibbs overtook DiNozzo and rounded the corner into the laneway which ran along side the armoury building. The first thing he noticed were tyre tracks on the asphalt. Someone had spun their tyres presumably leaving in a hurry. He followed the direction of the marks to the rear of the building. He looked across the road which ran behind the building and noticed further marks on the road where a vehicle had taken the right turn too fast and skidded.
"Take samples for Abby," Gibbs ordered, as he turned back towards where he had left Tony. DiNozzo was already crouched down, scraping samples of rubber from the first marks they had passed. Gibbs walked back towards the main scene. As he rounded the corner, he could see Ducky and Palmer loading the body in to their truck. He walked over in their direction. Ducky waved over to him as he closed up the rear o the truck.
"See you back there, Jethro!"
Gibbs raised his arm in acknowledgement as his friend hopped into the truck and drove away.