It seems like every time I did something good, it came around to bite me in the ass.
I became friends with most of the gun shop owners and workers in Honolulu at one time or another. So it was I became friends with the owner of J&S Guns, located a few blocks from the main police station of South Beretania.
It gave me a place to hang out when I was off duty, I got to mess around with all the new stuff, and hell, I knew and shot with all the employees anyway.
So it was that I was hanging around in the shop when a young local woman came in to look for a gun. She was accompanied by an older oriental companion who seemed to do all the looking. Problem was, I knew him.
Several years before he had tried to kill a Honolulu Liquor Commissioner over some citations issued to a “protected” hostess lounge. He had approached the commissioners house in the early morning hours with a pistol in his hand.
What he did not know was someone had warned the commissioner. At the3time there was some mistrust between the police and liquor commission so instead of an armed police officer, the commissioner’s son was waiting. The son, in his early 20’s, had armed himself with a Ruger .44 magnum caliber carbine. A very powerful weapon.
When the gunman, Cyril, approached the house, the son called out for him to stop. The rifle was already leveled and aimed, so when Cyril did not do as instructed, there was a single shot fired. The shot missed, barely, but it did hit the tree Cyril has trying to hide behind. But the concussive wave from a traveling 44 mag passing within 2 inches, caused massive facial damage. It also ended the confrontation.
While in the hospital recovering, Cyril had 24 hour guards, he was in custody after all. One of those guards was me. I had seen his rebuilt face.
When he walked into the gun shop, I recognized him right away. I also guessed the girl was just there to make a “straw” purchase, that is when someone legally buys a gun for someone who can’t legally buy a gun. It is a felony for both persons.
The choice of weapons was also more than a little suspicious. The two spent several minutes handling a .45 caliber semi-automatic carbine that closely resembled the old “Tommy” gun. Not really the weapon a twenty something, slightly built woman would select for herself.
She filled out all the paperwork, then walked out to go to the Police Department to finish the papers and get her permit. No waiting period back then. Since it was late afternoon, and I spoke to the store owner, the salesman encouraged her to return the next day to pick up her purchase. There really was no reason, it was just to buy some additional time for me.
I did what I was “supposed” to do, I called a detective and advised there was going to be a felon in possession of a firearm the next day. We made a quick plan, got permission from the CID major, and got to the store and parking lot very early the next morning.
Sure enough she, and her older boyfriend right beside her, showed up just after opening. And she had all the cleared paperwork to purchase “her” weapon.
Steve, the “S” in the stores name, finished the transaction, wrapped up the gun, a hundred rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, and several extra magazines, took the money and completed the sale.
She took “their” purchases, and they both walked out of the store and into the parking lot where they were under constant surveillance by two Honolulu police detectives. Once in their vehicle Cyril took the package, tore it open, and began loading one of the magazines with the newly purchased ammunition.
And that’s when the detectives approached the car and at gunpoint advised both occupants they were under arrest. Cyril had the weapon, magazine, and ammunition on his lap, and under his control. He was immediately arrested for being a “felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition”, parole violations, and a host of other charges.
She was charged with lying on the federal firearm forms, the straw purchase, and other assorted crimes concerned with giving guns to known dangerous felons.
All in all, it went just fine, and that’s when it came around to bite me in the butt.
Since the detective thought I’d done a good thing, he put me in for a commendation. Like all commendations, it had to go through the chief’s office.
The commendation came back, denied of course, with the suggestion this be referred to Internal Affairs and see if the “J” in “J&S” guns stood for James, did I make any money from the transaction (perhaps an unauthorized outside employment), and why was I at that shop at the time of the sale.
So instead of an “attaboy”, I got hit with another IA investigation.
Like they say, no good deed goes unpunished. I just never learned.