For some reason, this has been heavy on my mind as of late;
I met Reggie while shooting in competition with Frank, a DEA agent. Frank taught me a lot about shooting, investigating and surviving. To my knowledge he survived at least 3 close quarter gun fights. One of which was in a vehicle and he was facing 2 to 1 odds. He won, they lost.
Reggie, at the time I met him, was working very deep undercover. He was “employed” as a freight handler with an airline which put him in place to see who was sending what and where.
Shooting on the weekends was really my release as well as “training”. I met a lot of good people shooting “guns”. Hey, almost none of them ever screwed me over (unlike my biker and police brothers).
I had done something to irritate someone, again, because I was pulling turn-key duty in the cell block. You know jailer duty. A long tedious waste of time for a street cop like me. It was usually assigned as punishment for some minor indiscretion; especially on a weekend.
This was even worse because DEA had made a round up and brought in 12 or 15 people. As felony arrests, they had to be processed and then all locked in separate cells. Separate cells were supposed to keep them from making up alibis or talking about their situation. Didn’t really work, they talked, they planned, but mostly they compared notes and tried to figure out how they got caught.
With so many people brought in at once, it was hard to keep them from talking with each other, even harder for me to not over hear them and I heard one say; “It had to be that fucking handler Reggie. He was the only one who knew when the shit was coming in.”
The other responded, “Yeah, it had to be that fucking guy. I’ll have that fuck taken care of, soon as I get out of here”.
They had mentioned the Reggie’s last name so I was sure it was the same Reggie I knew.
Again, the days before cell phones, and you weren’t supposed to make personal call from the cell-block desk, so I had to wait till I could get outside and the first thing I did was try to call Frank and tell him to warn Reggie. The guy’s locked up were the kind of guys that would follow-up on those threats.
I had to leave messages at the DEA office, Frank’s house, and the airline freight office. Finally, Frank called back and I told him what I had overheard. He thanked me and said he’d warn everyone concerned.
I got off duty, had a couple of drinks, could be seeing a pattern here, and went home.
Time passed, I’d see Frank and Reggie, sometimes together but usually apart, at the weekend shooting.
Frank taught me some of the secrets of fast revolver shooting, Reggie taught me reloading. Nothing much was ever said about the threats I’d over heard.
It was 5 or 6 months later when I got a late night knock on my apartment door. There stood Frank and Reggie. Frank had called the department and found out what shift I was working. So they knew I was probably home.
I invited them in and after a few minutes they got to business. Three days earlier Reggie had been in San Jose, CA to see a lady friend. As he walked from his rental car to her front door he came under gun fire from 2 male individuals that had apparently been waiting for him.
There was a gunfight.They lost.
Reggie opened a bag he was carrying and handed me one of his guns I had often admired. He simply said: “Thanks”. Then they both left without further conversation.
Within the next few months, I developed some problems of my own. Frank was transferred and Reggie just seemed to disappear.
Frank completed a long and brave career with DEA. He finished his career as an “Inspector” and senior firearms instructor. He retired and moved down south somewhere.
Don’t really know what happened to Reggie.