“No one’s talked to his family yet?” she asked.
“Working on it.”
“What about witness video? Didn’t anyone pull out their phone?”
“Not that’s been reported from this shooting,” answered Zander. “There weren’t a ton of people there that early in the morning and most of them left immediately when the shooting started.”
“He had it all planned,” Ava breathed, staring as the figure strode out of the camera’s view. “He was supposed to be in the bathroom by a certain time. Why?”
“I was hoping you could shine some light on that,” said Shaver. “Everyone else who encountered him immediately got the hell away and didn’t look back. You were stuck and forced to watch him in person for longer than anyone else. What else can you tell us?”
Shaver leaned closer, his gaze boring into the side of her face. She didn’t look away from the computer screen. The video had cut to the shooter walking the last twenty feet to the bathroom. He vanished inside.
Ava’s brain ran the scene through instant replay, watching his long strides and confident bearing as he neared the restroom. Something tickled the back of her brain. “Replay that last part, please.”
He touched a few buttons, making the piece continually loop, and Ava watched a few more times. The shooter never looked back, never glanced over his shoulder to see if someone was coming. “He’s so confident,” she said. “His movements aren’t of someone who’s even slightly nervous. Is that because he achieved his primary goal?”
“Like killing my witness?” muttered Zander.
Shaver tilted his head. “They say these guys know this is an endgame. They’re committed once they put their plan into motion, fully aware they’ll probably die either by police or their own hand. Everything is showing us he thoroughly thought out his plan. The cameras, the clothing, the weapon.”
“Very thorough,” Ava said. “Like someone who’s rehearsed this over and over. There’s got to be earlier footage of him at the mall walking this route. I’d imagine within the last week. He’d want to know if there were recent changes along his planned path.” She looked at Shaver and Zander. “How many people do you have reviewing footage? You’re going to need a whole lot more.”
Mason knocked on the door of Justin Yoder’s parents’ home.
“Nice house,” Ray muttered. “Not where I expected to end up today.”
Mason understood. Someone who’d committed the type of crime that Justin Yoder had should have lived in a hellhole, his life a hot mess of stress and anger and unfulfilled need. The gorgeous Tudor home in front of them in the quiet, well-groomed neighborhood indicated peace and prosperity.
Appearances could be deceiving. There was no reason to assume the mini-mansion didn’t house stress and anger.
A tall woman answered the door. Mason introduced himself and Ray, and Sally Yoder invited them into her home. Mason knew she’d spoken with the medical examiner within the past hour. Justin’s mother’s voice shook, but she kept her chin up. Her eyes were bloodshot and her nose looked raw and red from too many rough tissues. Despair flowed from her, but her gaze was controlled. The two men followed her through the house to a huge great room with bright sun streaming in through tall windows. The room was oddly cool. She offered the detectives a beverage, which they passed on, and then asked them to sit at the table.
She seemed to shrink as she waited silently at the table. She didn’t look at the men but proceeded to tear a tissue into tiny damp bits on the tablecloth in front of her. The home was silent. A quick scan of the room didn’t show any family pictures, and the house looked as if it’d been decorated from that unusual furniture store that Ava was fond of. Solid pale-colored furniture with glittery accents. No homey touches at all. Mason’s preliminary work had revealed that Justin was an only child, his mother divorced and remarried, and his stepfather a bigwig at one of the Northwest banks in their downtown Portland office.
“Will your husband be joining us?” Ray asked.
“He’s on his way, but he’s driving from downtown. I don’t know how long it’ll take him to get here.” She paused and added in a near whisper, “I told him it’s been confirmed.” Her gaze begged the two men to tell her she was wrong.
“Yes, the dental findings were very clear,” Mason said gently. He watched her swallow hard. “Is there someone else who can be here with you right now?” He found it odd that she was alone in the house after finding out that her son was dead. “A neighbor or relative?”
She shook her head. “I’ve been on the phone with family all morning. No one lives close by, and I prefer to do this alone until Eric gets here.” She glanced nervously at the other men and gave a shaky laugh. “You must think I’m odd, but I’m a private person. I don’t like people fawning over me.”
Mason understood but was disturbed by her laugh. Is this how she deals with loss? “When did you last see Justin?”
She took a deep breath. “The day before yesterday. He left for work in the early afternoon. He usually works three to midnight at Big John’s several days a week.”
“The huge bowling and game place?” Ray asked. “What’s he do there?”
“Everything. Sells tickets, handles prizes, waits tables. Whatever is needed.”