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Archive for July 27th, 2018

ATF Agent Drowns in Alabama

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF agent Hugh Anthony O’Connor died Sunday drowning on the Tennessee River in Marshall County, Ala.

Marine patrol troopers say the incident happened around 5:40 p.m. Sunday near Painted Bluff in the vicinity of the Marshall and Madison county lines, station WAFF reports.

Authorities say O’Connor jumped into the water from a boat to help a woman retrieve items that blew from their boat and he failed to surface. His body was recovered approximately 100 yards downstream, the station reports.

ATF issued a statement on Facebook:

ATF is saddened to report the death of one of our own. We mourn the loss of Special Agent/ Certified Explosive Specialist Bomb Technician (CESBT) Hugh A. O’Connor. Our thoughts are with the O’Connor family and the National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR).

Responses on Facebook included:

 Bill Atkinson: I miss you brother. You have been a good friend and mentor, and you had my six on a lot of PBSO-ATF Violent Crime Task Force search warrants and felony takedowns while I was a TFO and shared an office with you in West Palm Beach.Rest easy until we can join you someday- keep some Guinness and Jamason ready.

Cheryl Basham: One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. RIP Hugh.

Matthew BlakemanWhat an amazing guy. Tough loss.

Court Battle Begins in Portland for FBI Agent Accused of Lying About Firing His Weapon

Robert “LeVoy” Tinicum

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

 The court battle began this week between the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Ore., and FBI agent Joseph Astarita who is charged with lying about firing his rifle at Robert LaVoy Finicum in the moments before the rancher was killed by state police on a rural Oregon highway.

In opening statements Wednesday, the Washington Post reports, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Sussman told jurors that Astarita’s two shots were covered up by officers on the scene — and that aerial footage captured from two FBI planes will show officers picking up items in the snow near where the victim lay.

Defense attorney Robert Cary suggested to jurors those two shots could have come from Oregon state troopers as well as Astarita’s supervisor. “What does the government have?” Cary asked, noting that there were no other eyewitnesses or ballistic evidence, the Post reported.

Astarita has denied firing his weapon.

Man Arraigned For Assaulting FBI Agent With His Truck

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fugitive Cedrick Hill, 26, was arraigned in Atlanta on a federal charge of assaulting an FBI agent with his truck while attempting to evade arrest during an incident in January in suburban Atlanta. Hill was wanted at the time on federal drug charges, authorities said Thursday.

“The actions of this defendant were reprehensible, with absolute disregard for the life of our agent,” said Murang Pak, acting special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta office in a statement. “The agent was dragged for about a quarter mile at high speeds before the defendant stopped the vehicle due to the defendant’s injuries.  Our agent displayed tremendous courage and calm under fire during this very difficult situation.  Fortunately, our agent is recovering from his injuries and will have his day in court for this blatant attack on a federal officer.”

A federal grand jury indicted Hill on the charges earlier this month.

The incident happened on Jan. 5 when FBI agents located Hill in the foyer of a hotel in Sandy Springs, Ga. and announced he was under arrest.

Then, according to a press release:

Hill began to put his arms behind his back, but pulled away as the agent began to handcuff him.  Hill then allegedly ran through the lobby and exited the hotel with the agent in pursuit.  The defendant ran to his truck to escape arrest.  The agent attempted to stop him, and became lodged in the driver’s side door.

With the agent dangling from the door, Hill allegedly sped through the parking lot at a high rate of speed and hit another vehicle, crushing the agent at the point of impact and breaking his arm and femur.  The agent managed to discharge his service weapon with his free hand, striking Hill twice.

Despite being shot, Hill drove out of the hotel parking lot, crossed Interstate 285, and turned down an access road before stopping the vehicle and releasing the injured agent onto the side of the road.  The injured agent managed to call 911 and request medical care for himself and Hill.  The defendant drove back to the hotel, where he was treated by first responders and later arrested.  The agent remained on the side of the road until he was located by first responders.