In 1983, Hector Negron, an aged, Afro-Puerto Rican Puerto Rican American World War II veteran, works as a post office clerk in New York City. After recognizing a customer, Negron shoots and kills the man with a German Luger pistol. Several hours later, rookie reporter Tim Boyle and Detective Tony Ricci are at the crime scene seeking information. At Negron's apartment, Boyle, Ricci and other officers discover a finely carved statue head, the Head of the ''Primavera'', a long missing segment from the Ponte Santa Trinita. Also found is a Purple Heart and a photograph revealing that Negron was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (United States) and Silver Star.