When the prostitute answered the door, she glanced at the picture of Coombs that the officers had brought with them. "Even if he is still alive, the person you need to talk to is across the hall," she whispered, motioning with her head in the direction of apartment No. 3. "That's the person that he buys his crack from."
Holmes and Hamre headed down the whitewashed, fluorescent-lighted hall. They could hear voices coming from apartment No. 3.
"This is Officer Holmes," Holmes said after knocking. "I need to ask you some questions about a missing person. Don't be alarmed. I'm not here for your drugs and your drug-dealing enterprise."
An older black man opened the door. Holmes walked inside, followed by Hamre. A young black guy sat in front of a television. The room had no furniture. A blanket and a pillow lay at one corner of the room. Strewn about were DVDs, car stereos, CD cases and a plastic bag of green leaves. A black .357-caliber revolver sat on the floor in front of the younger man.
Holmes pulled out his own .40-caliber and told Hamre to secure the two men. Holmes lunged forward to retrieve the .357 from the floor. He took it to the kitchen and placed it in the freezer, so it would be out of reach of the residents in the small studio apartment. Holmes ran background checks on the two men. The younger one had no record, but the older man, Edward Z. Henderson, who went by "Butch," had served time in Kansas on a drug charge, making him a felon illegally in possession of a firearm.
Holmes and Hamre handcuffed the two men. They weren't sure what to do next. They were patrol cops, not detectives, and they didn't have a warrant to be in Henderson's apartment. Holmes stepped out of the apartment and used his cell phone to call Mike Hutcheson, the detective who had ordered the two cops on this search. The missing tourist's family had been in town for three days, complaining to local TV news that Kansas City cops were neglecting the case. Holmes knew the area and its criminals well. So, as a favor, Hutcheson had asked Holmes earlier that evening to look for Coombs around the area of 37th Street and Main.
"I got the missing tourist's drug dealer," Holmes told Hutcheson. "He's got a gun inside the apartment." Holmes claims that Hutcheson told him to leave the two men and the gun in the apartment and come back to the station.
Holmes went back to Henderson's apartment and uncuffed the men. Hamre felt strange about leaving the scene as it was, but if those were the orders Hutcheson gave, the patrolmen had to follow them. As they turned to go, Holmes noticed a box of bullets on top of the TV. Holmes asked himself, Why leave a box of shells in the hands of a felon when the only thing they're going to do with them is something wrong? He took the bullets and put them in his pocket. Later, he moved them to the duffel bag he kept in his patrol car.