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25. CHAPTER XXV. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
At first Jimmy thought they were the perpetrators of the deed, but almost immediately he recognized one of them as O'Donnell, the erstwhile traffic officer who had been promoted to a detective sergeancy since Jimmy had first met him.
"Compton has been murdered," said Jimmy dully. "He is dead."
"Put up your hands," snapped O'Donnell for the second time, "and be quick about it!"
It was then for the first time that Jimmy realized the meaning that might be put upon his presence alone in the office with his dead employer. O'Donnell's partner searched him, but found no weapon upon him.
"Where's the gat?" he asked.
"Whoever did this probably took it with him." said Jimmy. "Find the watchman."
They made Jimmy sit down in a corner, and while one of them guarded him the other called up central, made his report, and asked for an ambulance and the wagon. Then O'Donnell commenced to examine the room. A moment later he found an automatic behind the door across the room from where Compton's body lay.
"Ever see this before?" asked O'Donnell, holding the pistol up to Jimmy.
"If you're asking me if it's mine, no," said Jimmy. "I have a gun, but it's home. I never carry it. I didn't do this, O'Donnell." he continued. "There was no reason why I should do it, so instead of wasting your time on me while the murderer escapes you'd better get busy on some other theory, too. It won't do any harm, anyway."
The wagon came and took Jimmy to the station, and later he was questioned by the lieutenant in charge.
"You say this is not your pistol?" asked the police officer.
"It is not," replied Jimmy.
"You never saw it before?"
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