Cityside, July 21, 1998
"S.T.A.R.S." SPECIAL TACTICS AND RESCUE SQUAD SENT TO SAVE RACCOON CITY
RACCOON CITY-With the reported disappearance of three hikers in Raccoon Forest earlier this week, city officials have finally called for a roadblock on rural Route 6 at the foothills of the Arklay Mountains. Chief Brian Irons announced yesterday that the S.T.A.R.S. will participate full-time in the search for the hikers and will also be working closely with the RPD until there is an end to the rash of murders and disappearances that are destroying our community.
Chief Irons, a former S.T.A.R.S. member himself, said today (in an exclusive Cityside telephone interview) that it is "high time" to employ the talents of these dedicated men and murders here in less than two months, and at least five disappearances now-and all of these events have taken place in a close proximity to Raccoon Forest. This leads us to believe that the perpetrators of these crimes may be hiding somewhere in the Victory Lake district, and the S.T.A.R.S. have just the kind of experience we need to find them.
When asked why the S.T.A.R.S. hadn’t been assigned to these cases until now, Chief Irons would only say that the S.T.A.R.S. have been assisting the RPD since the beginning and that they would be a "welcome addition" to the task force currently working on the murders full-time.
Raccoon Times, July 24, 1998
SPENCER MANSION DESTROYED IN EXPLOSIVE FIRE
RACCOON CITY - At approximately 2 A.M. Thursday morning, Victory Lake district residents were awakened by an explosive blast that thundered through northwest Raccoon Forest, apparently caused by a fire that swept through the abandoned Spencer mansion and ignited chemicals stored in the basement. Due to delays from the police barricade set up at the forest perimeter (in connection with the recent string of murders in Raccoon City), local firefighters were unable to salvage any part of the estate's grounds. After a three-hour battle against the raging fire, the thiry-one-year-old mansion and adjacent servant's quarters were deemed a complete loss.
Built by Lord Oswell Spencer, European aristocrat and one of the founders of the worldwide parmaceutical company, Umbrella, Inc., the estate was designed by award-winning architect George Trevor as a guest house for Umbrella VIPs and was closed down shortly after completion for reasons unknown. According to Amanda Whitney, spokesperson for the Umbrella Corporation, parts of the estate were still being used to store a number of industrial cleaning agents and solvents used by Umbrella. Whitney said in a statement yesterday that the company would take full responsibility for the unfortunate incident, calling it "a serious oversight on our part. Those chemicals should have been cleared out of the Spencer house a long time ago, and we're just thankful no one was hurt."
At this point, the cause of the fire is undetermined, but Whitney went on to say that Umbrella will be bringing in their own investigators to sift through the ruins in hopes of determining the fire's point of origin.
Raccoon Weekly, July 29, 1998
S.T.A.R.S. TAKEN OFF MURDER INVESTIGATION
RACCOON CITY - In a surprising announcement by city officials at a press conference yesterday, the Raccoon City branch of the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S.) was officially removed from the investigation into the nine brutal murders and five disappearances of city residents that have occurred in the last ten weeks. City council member Edward Weist delivered the statement, citing gross incompetence as the primary reson for the S.T.A.R.S. removal.
Readers may remember that the S.T.A.R.S.'s first action upon being assigned the cases last week was to search the northwest area of the forest for the alleged cannibal killers. Weist stated that it was because of their "blatantly unprofessional conduct" that their mission ended in disaster, resulting in the crash of a helicopter and the loss of sic of their eleven team members, including the S.T.A.R.S. branch commander, Captain Albert Wesker.
"After [the S.T.A.R.S.'s] mishandling of the Raccoon Forest search," said Weist, "we've decided to let the RPD see this investigation through to its conclusion. We have reason to believe that the S.T.A.R.S. may have been ingesting drugs and/or alcohol prior to their search, and have suspended the use of their services indefinitely."
Weist was joined by Sarah Jacobeen (representing Mayor Harris) and Police Commissioner J.C. Washington to make the announcement and the answer questions. Neither Police Chief Brian Irons nore any of the survivng S.T.A.R.S. could be reached for comment.
Cityside, August 3, 1998
SOURCE OF ESTATE FIRE DEEMED ACCIDENTAL
RACCOON CITY - After an exhaustive investigation by fire officials working with Umbrella, Inc.'s ISD (Industrial Services Division), the fire that ravaged the company-owned Spencer estate in Raccoon Forest late last month was determined to have been caused by carelessness on the part of person persons unknown, as was announced in a press conference yesterday. Said ISD Team Leader David Bischoff, "It looks like somebody tried to start a campfire in one of the mansion's rooms and things just got out of control. We've found nothing to suggest arson or foul play of any kind." He went on to say that while the destruction of the propert was total, there's no evidence that anyone was caught in the fire or susbsequent explosion.
Chief Brian Irons of the Raccoon City Police Department was in attendance at the conference, and when asked whether he believed the fire to be connected to the unsolved murders and disappearances plaguing the city, Irons stated that there was no way to be sure. Said Irons, "At this point, anything I could say would only be speculation--though I will say that the fact that the murders have stopped since the night of the fire seems to imply that perhaps the killers were hiding there. We can only hope that they've now left the are and will soon be apprehnded."
Chief Irons refused to comment on the allegations of gross misconduct by the S.T.A.R.S. in their brief assignment to the murder investigation, saying only that he agreed with the city council's decision and disciplinary actions are being considered.
Raccoon Times, August 26, 1998
MAYOR ANNOUNCES "KEEP CITY SAFE" PLAN
RACCOON CITY - On the front steps of City Hall, Mayor Harris announced in a press conference yesterday afternoon that the City Council will be hiring at least ten new police officers to join the Raccoon police, in response to the continued suspension of the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S.), in effect since the brutal murders that plagued Raccoon earlier this summer. Joined by Police Chief Brian Irons and all of Raccoon's Council members, Harris assured the gathered citizens and reporters that Raccoon City will once again be a safe community in which to live and work, and that the investigation into the eleven "cannibal" murders and three fatal wild animal attacks is far from closed.
"Just because no one else has been attacked in the last month doesn't mean that the elected officials of this city can relax," Harris stated. "The good people of Raccoon City deserve to have confidence in their police force and to be secure in the knowledge that their political representatives are doing everything possible to assure each citizen's safety. As many of you know, the S.T.A.R.S. suspension is likely to become permanent. That unit's gross mishandling of the murder investigations and its subsequent disappearance from Raccoon City suggests that they don't care about this community--but I want to assure you that we care, that myself, Chief Irons, and the men and women you see here today want nothing more than to make Raccoon a place in which our children can grow up without fear."
Harris went on to detail a three-point plan designed to bolster public confidence and keep Raccoon citizens from falling victim to violence. Besides hiring ten and twelve new police officers, the citywide curfew will remain in place through at least September, and Chief Irons will personally head a task force of several officers and detectives to continue searching for the killers who took the lives of eleven people between May and July of this year.
Cityside, September 4, 1998
RENOVATION OF UMBRELLA COMPLEX PLANNED
RACCOON CITY - The Umbrella chemical plant just south of downtown Raccoon is due for major construction efforts, slated to begin next Monday. This will be the third such structural renovation in the last year for the thriving pharmaceutical company. According to Umbrella spokesperson Amanda Whitney, two of the laboratories inside the main plant will be fitted with several million dollars' worth of new equipment designed for vaccine synthesis, and the building itself will receive a state-of-the-art security system. In addition, all of the connected office buildings will be upgrading computers over the next several weeks. But will this be a problem for downtown traffic? Said Whitney, "With the Raccoon police building just finishing up yet another one of their renovations, we know that the local commuters are getting pretty tired of blocked streets. We're going to do our best not to get in the way of downtown traffic; most of the construction is internal, and the rest we'll be doing after business hours." The courtyard in front of the RPD building, our readers may remember, was recently repaved and relandscaped after several mysterious cracks appeared in the cement and topsoil; traffic had to be diverted around two blocks of Oak Street for six days.
When asked why so many "overhauls" as of late, Whitney replied, "Umbrella has stayed ahead of the competition for as long as it has by keeping up with current technology. It's going to be a busy couple of months, but I think it will be well worth the effort when we're finally through.
Raccoon Weekly Editorial, September 17, 1998
IRONS TO RUN?
RACCOON CITY - Mayor Harris may be in for a rough race next spring. Weekly sources inside the RPD are saying that Brian Irons, chief of police for the last four-and-a-half years, may be running for the city's top office in the next election, facing off against the popular and as yet unopposed Devlin Harris, already in office for three consecutive terms. Although Irons would not confirm his possible entry into the political arena, the onetime S.T.A.R.S. member also refused to deny the rumor.
With his approval rating at an all-time high ever since the cessation of this summer's savage murders (as yet unsolved) and the planned expansion of the RPD, Chief Irons may indeed be the man to knock Harris out of City Hall; the question is, will voters be able to forget Iron's alleged involvement in the 1994 Cider District land scam? Or his rather expensive tastes in art and interior design, which have turned parts of the RPD building into something more like a museum than a working office? Assuming he means to throw his hat into the ring, this reporter--for one--will be looking forward to examining Iron's financial records.
Raccoon Times, September 22, 1998
TEENAGER ATTACKED IN CITY PARK
RACCOON CITY - At approximately 6:30 p.m. last night, fourteen year-old Shanna Williamson was accosted by a mysterious stranger in downtown's Birch Street Park on the way home from softball practice. The man came out from behind a row of hedges at the south end of the park and knocked Ms. Williamson off of her bicycle before attempting to grab her. The teen managed to get away with only a few scratches, running to the nearby residence of Tom and Clara Atkins; Mrs. Atkins alerted the authorities, who conducted a thorough search of the park but found no sign of the attacker. According to the girl (through a police statement issued earlier this morning), the man appeared to be a transient; his clothes and hair were dirty, and she described a bad odor coming from him, a "smell like rotten fruit." She also said that he seemed drunk, staggering and falling after her as she ran.
With the plague of cannibalistic murders from May to July still unsolved, the RPD is taking Ms. Williamson's encounter very seriously; the assailant bears a striking resemblance to eyewitness reports of the "gang" members spotted in Victory Park last June. Mayor Harris has called a press conference for later today, and Police Chief Brian Irons has stated already that with the first of the newly hired police officers expected next week, regular patrols will extend their routes to include the downtown park blocks.