OF THE MAINSTREAM
It was late, well after midnight, but AD Walter Skinner was still
at his desk wading through a stack of paperwork. You could be forgiven
for losing track of time here, the place was a warren of corridors and
offices encased in a concrete and steel complex unaffected by the natural
elements, and was active 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The late night requirement to catch up on the backlog was unavoidable.
Endless meetings during the day had quickly eaten up the time Skinner
had intended to devote to the task which meant another late night session
he really could have done without. Quality down time was a luxury these
days and the lack of it was beginning to tell. Momentarily giving in to
his tiredness, he sat back in his chair, and ruefully eyed the seemingly
endless pile of documents filling his IN tray . He got up
It was an X File, bounded by bold red flashes and he immediately recognised Scully's neat handwriting. He shook his head. In all honesty, he had forgotten about it. Scully must have dropped the report off before going home. He knew she had wanted to see him about it, she said as much when they had passed each other in the corridor earlier in the day but he was on his way to yet another meeting. He had explained about his restrictive schedule and that he would give her a call when he was free. Unfortunately the opportunity never arose.
Skinner actually worried about that, because Scully rarely sought his advice and he sensed she was troubled by this case. He took the fileback to his desk. He made the coffee, sat down, and began to read...
Case no: X- 261154
The following report is an account of the armed robbery attempt at the Maryland Marine Bank, Annapolis AUG 28 1999.
Prior to commencing duty on the above date, I became involved in an
incident at the Smith Street, Annapolis branch. Whilst conducting personal
business that morning, I happened across Floyd Edward Curtis, whom I recognised
from the published details in a recent FBI Bulletin. Floyd was listed
in prison releases as most likely to reoffend. He is a known associate
of Dean Martelli, (himself identified as among the higher echelons of
organised crime on the Atlantic East Coast), and has
I observed Curtis covertly for some time. He was acting in a highly suspicious manner outside the bank and his motives were questionable to say the least. He was restlessly pacing beside a blue 1990 Ford Galaxy sedan in the rain and as the keys were in the ignition I surmised the Galaxy may be a "get away" vehicle. Despite my suspicions I could not make an arrest without due cause. Nevertheless I thought it prudent to contact the Annapolis Police. I reported the matter to the dispatcher (201), who then established there were no current Wants or Warrants. I advised that a unit would be sent to assist.
Curtis finally made his move at 0940 and entered the bank, There was still no sign of any police back up. Nonetheless I felt compelled to take action. I took the keys from the Galaxy and locked the car. I then entered the bank where I sought cover inside the recess between the inner and outer doors with the elevator shaft at my back. From this advantage point I was able to monitor the situation.
Once I gained access I realised I had been on the 9round before. This branch had been the scene of the failed robbery attempt on APR 2, 1994 by Warren James Dupre in which Special Agent Jack Willis had been fatally wounded. The previous incident actually gave me an advantage as I was able to recall the layout from the briefings prior to the stakeout. My only concern was that the floor plan had altered during the past few years. However because there appeared to be no external evidence of renovation I felt confident there had been no change.
I drew my weapon as a precaution. No sooner had I done so when I heard a commotion - shouting and screaming - and I realised the armed robbery I feared was now in progress. I was aware that I lacked back up and that it was a risk but felt it my duty to intervene. Curtis would not hesitate to use force, and I feared for casualties.
I rushed the foyer with my weapon raised. To my relief I found that
there had been no other than superficial changes to the interior so I
was able to quickly locate Curtis amongst the patrons. He was carrying
a sawn-off shotgun that he must have slung, hidden from view, beneath
his rain coat. I identified myself and ordered him to drop his weapon.
However I was soon to realise I had made a grave error of judgement, unaware that Curtis had an accomplice already secreted in the bank. A second man on my left made a threatening move towards me, and I was in two minds on how to react as I was unsure whether this second man was armed. It was then that I heard a shout, warning me that the man was carrying an automatic handgun and, in my exposed position, I realised I was in a potential crossfire. Forewarned I dropped to the floor the instant the perpetrator open fire. I am convinced that if I had not done so I would have been hit. I returned fire immediately and brought my target down.
This exchange of fire caused chaos as patrons panicked in which Curtis took full advantage. He forced his way past me by using a shoulder charge that knocked me down before I could get into a position to stop him. The impact, while succeeding, also inadvertently disarmed him. The bank's security guard moved to secure the second perpetrator, now identified as Edward John Shanks. Therefore I pursued Curtis out onto Smith Street.
When I reached the sidewalk, however, it was too crowded with civilians
to challenge Curtis openly. He had obviously found his vehicle unusable
and was walking briskly away, in a westerly direction. By this time, approximately
1015, I observed a patrol car turn in from the E28 intersection. Curtis
also witnessed its arrival because he propped but did not retrace his
steps. I soon understood why. A second patrol car, perhaps responding
to the silent alarm, had arrived on the scene behind
I could see that Curtis was desperately searching for another escape route, and I knew that several yards and alleys crisscrossed the rear of the commercial strip and that if he managed to slip into this area it would be difficult, in the extreme, to relocate and apprehend him.
My only option was to continue the pursuit of Curtis on foot. This I did and was able to overtake and restrain him before he could take flight. However he strongly resisted and I was forced to grapple with the man for several minutes before the police came to my assistance and we were able to complete the arrest.
Curtis was read his rights and detained in custody by the local force, the matter having been dealt with on the local level as Curtis was not at this stage a Federal felon.
Finally, I feel I must report an inconsistency. It concerns the shouted
warning I heard that enabled me to take avoiding action in regards to
Shanks. After questioning, it was established that none of the staff,
or the patrons, had either called out or heard the warning themselves.
Curtis and Shanks also denied hearing anything. However I cannotescape
the implausible conclusion that, despite the lack of corroborating evidence,
I did hear a warning and the voice I heard was that of the late Special
Agent Jack Willis. As stated earlier, this particular branch of the bank
had been the crime scene in which Agent
ADDENDUM TO CASE REPORT: After much deliberation I have come to the
conclusion that this incident needs to be classified X File due this paradox,
an event I cannot adequately explain.
Skinner tipped up his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose hard. He closed the file thoughtfully. He picked up his coffee, rose from his chair and turned to the window. With a hand on his hip he stretched his cramped back muscles and he looked down on the brightly lit street below. He replayed what he had read in his mind to ensure himself of the facts. Despite the somewhat formal and stilted style that was typical of Scully's reports, he had long ago learned to read between the lines, and beneath the unadorned words a very real human story had merged. Scully had unexpectedly found herself in a difficult and dangerous situation that went seriously wrong. On top of that there had been an added and dreadful burden: her past relationship to a crime scene which had led to the death of a very close colleague. That in itself must have been bad enough, only to find herself the subject of his apparently "otherworldly warning..." What effect did that have? Scully's written statement gave him no indication, concerned as it was with detailing only the factual record.
Of course, due to its very nature, a formal report could never convey the apprehensions, the acute awareness and physicality of such an action, or admit to the fear and pain involved, but that didn't mean these weren't present. On the contrary, he knew only too well the sudden kaleidoscope of emotions that can experienced when placed under duress. Indeed, Scully had been injured: she had suffered severe bruising and abrasions during the arrest even if she felt these injuries weren't important enough to report. Words were abstract; bruises were real.
Skinner never failed to take into account what it was like for the ordinary agent in the field. He hoped Scully knew that despite his sometimes aloof manner.
His superiors, though, were another matter. At their end of the scheme
of things it was the bigger picture they were concerned about. Facts and
figures only favourable to the Bureau and nothing else. Scully's actions
would, in any conventional sense have earned her the highest commendations
for preventing a serious crime, but her department
Skinner drank the coffee quickly to rid himself of the unsavoury taste in his mouth and decided to call it a night. He sat back at the desk to sign off on the report and to include his comments. He wrote:
"Agent Scully's quick thinking prevented a serious crime and armed perpetrators were arrested and charged as a result. She undertook this action alone, at considerable risk to herself. Her conduct was exemplary in the execution of her duty and in keeping with the exact standards of the FBI. I highly commend Agent Scully actions in this case."
He paused a moment, and added: "1 also concur with the case number classification, X File."
L Goodwin 2002
RETURN FILE TO DRAWER..