People were scrambling everywhere trying to get out of the line of fire. I pushed Vicky to the marble steps just as two rounds hit me in the chest. I had turned to face the gunfire pulling my Glock. I hoped the vest had stopped them from penetrating; it was hard to tell, I was hurting so much.
Abra and Farah had attempted to shield Vicky with their bodies. Vicky was having none of it. She had pulled her Glock and was responding. Ed was starting to do the same to me until he realized I was shooting at the people with the AK’s. I picked one and put four rounds into his body before he fell.
The AK fire was responded to by handgun fire that I recognized as more 40 cal from my bodyguards. There were other smaller caliber weapons being fired but very few.
The AK fire ceased after a few seconds that seemed like an hour. Ed and the others who had been shielding us picked me up and hustled us inside the building, but not before I took a quick glance around.
There was blood everywhere, splattered over the front of the palace and on the marble steps. The Vice Prime Minister and several others who I had just shaken hands with were dead.
Inside a quick count and we were all still alive. Several of my men had taken rounds in the vest. The security detail was wearing the heaver vest. Four of my men had flesh wounds in the legs from near misses. Vicky was unscathed. She had emptied a full clip at two of the shooters as had everyone in my security detail.
I was sitting on a table with my blood seeping through my jacket. Ziva and Vicky helped me take the jacket, blouse and vest off to look at me. When they pulled the vest off I screamed, it hurt so bad.
Prime Minister Cordeiro had made it without getting hit and was standing there watching. He was yelling for his staff to find his doctor.
The light vest had both rounds imbedded in it. The bullets had gone through far enough that the points and force of the impact had deeply punctured my flesh and I was bleeding. If I had been twenty feet closer I would have been dead.
I had Vicky taking pictures of my wounds and the blood running down my breast, and the attempts to stop the bleeding. I was sure there would be plenty of people wanting damage assessment.
After ice packs and dressing to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, I listened as my men described what they had seen and done.
I sent Ziva and Ed – along with a couple other men – to check the shooters; I wanted all the information they could get before the Portuguese police closed down everything.
William returned with the portable fingerprint scanner; it was one of the staples that were packed with the bag of security tools wherever we went any more.
Ed took pictures of them and everything in their pockets and all their tattoos while Ziva took fingerprints. Robert would have all of it in just a few minutes.
All of our phones were ringing; my State Department phone was indicating it was the President calling. I answered the call.
“What the hell is going on there?” he asked.
“You sent me into a trap,” I replied.
I knew he knew nothing, I doubted anyone other than the four individuals involved knew anything. I suspected this was a thrown together plot against the Portuguese Prime Minister and me being there was the icing on the cake. They couldn’t have known I was going to be there unless there was a spy in Prime Minister Cordeiro’s inner staff. That was always a possibility.
There was a long silence. “I had no idea anything was going to happen. Are you OK?”
“I have been better and worse, I was hit twice in the chest and I am still bleeding as we talk; four of my men were also hit. I have more security on the way within an hour. I will keep you informed,” I said as I ended the call.
The bleeding had stopped and Vicky was applying gauze dressings and tape. The doctor was busy with my four men. Two were going to be transported to the hospital; there were indications that the bullets had hit bone and they needed to check for shrapnel.
Then the doc turned his attention to me and after removing the dressing and pushing and probing, he decided that I needed x-rays to check for broken ribs. The impact of those bullets hitting the light vest was like getting hit with a baseball bat.
While we were waiting for the hospital arrangements I called the office back. The attack was on all the news channels.
An official statement needed to be made. The six of us worded a public statement to be sent to all JBG locations and employees. That statement was to be sent moments before Ching Lee went live at the news conference.
Ching Lee was to send a press release to all media outlets that there would be a news release and press conference at JBG headquarters in two hours. I told her to send the release to Troy, Dick and Ben so they could watch ZNN because I knew they would break all records to get someone there.
Vicky was talking to Jenny, Lorrie, Ching Lee, and Marcy using the computer on a VCATS call on my portable office. She had already sent the pictures to the office while she was talking.
I called Andy and filled him on his injured men. Then I gave specific orders, “Send ten more security in a G5 ASAP; the injured men will return on the plane. Ziva has sent all the evidence collected, have Robert put a rush on it,” I said.
The place had turned into a madhouse outside; the ambulances had carried away the wounded. The dead had been covered with tarps until the bodies could be removed.
The Vice Prime minister, the Economic minister, the Cultural Affairs minister, chief of the palace police, minister of the national police, and two deputy ministers were all killed. There were eight others who had some form of injury; many were going to cause permanent disabilities. With so many of the Portuguese government dead I was sure they were the intended targets.
Ed removed the two bullets from the vest so I could put it back on; he handed me the bullets, “You may want to keep these and count your good fortune.”
There were blood stained holes in my blouse and my jacket. I did not want people to see where I had been shot but I had no other jackets with me.
The media was in a rage; several were dead including the ZNN reporter and several from local news outfits. One of the terrorists at the last seconds of life had turned and sprayed the assembled news persons and crowds with fire in an attempt to kill as many innocents as possible.
There was always the possibility that stray bullets fired by my team and I and the police had gone wild into the crowd. This was going to get ugly.
The Prime Minister and his remaining officials had retreated to a nearby room trying to establish order, a response and continue the job of governing.
Vicky, Ed, and I did the same thing; we decided to return immediately to the embassy after the hospital visit, where we could communicate with Washington and my command center by video.
The Suburbans were brought back to the front of the palace. I was getting ready to walk out when Calvin Masters and James Carson from the night shift – another brute from the embassy security team – came wearing gear. I knew who Calvin’s gym partner was now.
“No, you are not walking out! We are carrying you out in a two man arm lift.” I was not going to argue with either of them as bad as I was hurting. I was worried about who might be outside.
When the door opened and they started to carry me out the door I had my first good look outside, “Holy crap!”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.