The voice on the police radio quivered in terror and was barely intelligible - a lone, hysterical scream rising from somewhere in the concrete canyon of downtown.
"Alpha 202!" a woman staring into a fleshy, yawning hole in her own shattered forearm wailed for all she was worth. "I've been shot!"
Then, silence, more deafening than her cry for help.
"I was scared I was going to die," Zenaida Flores, 31, sobbed in court yesterday as the only female Boston police officer to be shot in the line of duty publicly shared for the first time the ill-fated stop that has kept her off the force since Aug. 27, 2002.
While detaining a convicted dope peddler in Chinatown who was wanted for questioning, Flores and her partner, officer Carlton Williamson, 41, allegedly found themselves being flung to and fro like rag dolls by 350-pound James Gaines, 24, a Waltham man they would learn too late had his finger on the trigger of an elephantine .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
"We were trying to control him, but I knew I didn't have any control over him at all," Flores, appearing haunted by her own memories, said in describing how she had fastened herself to Gaines' right arm and Williamson to his left.
As Gaines, a ninth-grade dropout whose defense attorney claims "didn't intend to hurt anyone," began to break out of his shredding shirt, Flores freed one hand to call for backup.
"I didn't get a chance," she said, her words strangled. "Two gunshots rang out right away. It picked me up off my feet and knocked me into the middle of the street. I remember I was face down on the ground, and I saw a big hole in my arm."
The other bullet, prosecutor Mark Hallal explained to jurors at Gaines' attempted-murder trial, had struck a pager clipped to Flores' gun belt directly over her stomach, deflected off its battery and exploding her Mace cannister.
"I was scared," Flores said. "I remember hearing gunshots right next to me and at some point I could sense someone standing over me. My body jerked off the ground and I realized I'd been shot again."
This time, a third bullet was buried in her leg right next to her femoral artery. Flores' blue uniform turned red with blood.
But the cop whose career was put on hold after only four years learned yesterday just how many friends she's made as her brethren stood two deep in Superior Court to be her moral support.
"Police officers are human beings, too," said Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole, who comforted Flores before she took the witness stand. "I think it's important for people to know that."