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Tag: ATF

Murder Charges Are Possible After Oakland Warehouse Fire Killed at Least 36

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A massive warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. that killed at least 36 people Friday night was “a potential crime scene,” officials said Monday as the ATF helped investigate what caused the blaze.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said murder or involuntary manslaughter charges are among the possible consequences of the fire.

“Right now, we have just started our investigation,” she said. “And we owe it to the community, to those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence. So that if — when we get to that point of making a decision, we know that we’re making the right decision, based on the evidence that we have discovered and has been presented.”

What’s not clear, yet, is whether there is any criminal liability, O’Malley said.

“Right now, we have just started our investigation,” she said. “And we owe it to the community, to those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence. So that if — when we get to that point of making a decision, we know that we’re making the right decision, based on the evidence that we have discovered and has been presented.”

The ATF was on the scene trying to determine where the fire began. Officials believe the fire started somewhere in the back of the warehouse.

“We are no closer to finding a cause,” said Melinda Drayton, battalion chief for the Oakland Fire Department.

ATF Headquarters to Be Named After Special Agent Killed in 1982

Ariel Rios

Ariel Rios

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF National Headquarters in Washington D.C. will be renamed on Friday to honor Special Agent Aerial Rios, who was killed during an undercover operation in Miami in 1982, Guns.com reports. 

Rios, who was a special agent for five years before his death, met with two suspects at a Miami hotel to buy large quantity of cocaine and machine guns on Dec. 2, 1982.

When one of the suspects became suspicious, a struggle ensued and Rio was shot. Fellow agent Alex D’Atri also was shot but he survived after numerous surgeries.

The former ATF headquarters was named after Rios in 1985, but when the agency left, the EPA took over the building and renamed it the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building.

Other Stories of Interest

A Look at ATF’s National Tracing Center

ATF, FBI Investigating Suspicious Package with Actual Bomb Components Outside School

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators responding to a report of a suspicious package outside of an elementary school in Alabama found a device with wires and a timer.

The ATF, FBI and local police responded to a bomb threat at Magnolia Elementary School and were surprised by what they found, AL.com reports. 

According to a caller, a Latino man placed the package in front of the school.

The device, which was found on a pickup truck in the school parking lot, contained actual bomb components.

“We did find a small amount of what we believe to be an actual explosive,”  said Dave Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama.

Authorities detonated the device in nearby woods.

Federal officials said the investigation could be lengthy.

Other Stories of Interest

Georgia Man Who Shot ATF Agent Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison

Steven Maurice McKinley

Steven Maurice McKinley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Athens, Ga., man who shot an ATF agent during an undercover investigation more than two years ago was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison on Tuesday.

Steven Maurice McKinley, 23, was convicted of attempting to kill a federal officer and discharging a firearm during a federal crime of violence, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

The violence broke out in September 2014 when an undercover agent agreed to buy an AK-47 and marijuana from McKinley for $800. But the meeting turned out to be a robbery attempt by McKinney, who shot and wounded the agent.

“Today’s sentence is a direct message to criminals that law enforcement is observant and it will not tolerate violent crime,” said John Schmidt, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF’s Atlanta field office. “ Steven McKinley showed a complete and utter disregard for human life when he attempted to murder a federal agent. As an agency and unified law enforcement community, we will not tolerate armed violent individuals continually terrorizing our neighborhoods and reducing the quality of life.”

Other Stories of Interest

ATF Investigates Firebombing of Local GOP Headquarters in North Carolina

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating the fire-bombing of a local Republican Party office in North Carolina after someone spray-painted anti-GOP rhetoric on a nearby wall early Sunday morning.

Investigators said a molotov cocktail was tossed through a window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters overnight, causing a fire that damaged the interior of the building before burning out, the Associated Press reports. 

Campaign signs, a sofa and the walls were burned.

On an adjacent building was graffiti that read, “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”

“They are working around the clock. It is a miracle that nobody was killed,” state GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said in an interview, calling the fire “political terrorism.”

Hillary Clinton responded on Twitter that the firebombing “is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.”

Donald Trump tweeted, “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning.”

Authorities Investigating Arson of DEA Vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

fire via pixabayBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine who set fire to a DEA vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

The SUV was in the parking lot of a building that houses DEA offices, KSNW reports. 

The Wichita Police Department said the fire broke out around 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 6.

Two people were spotted in a surveillance video approaching the vehicle before it was set on fire.

The surveillance wasn’t released, but investigators are trying to determine the identity of the two people.

The DEA, Wichita Police Department and ATF are investigating.

More Than 20,000 Guns Purchased by People Deemed Unfit to Own Firearms

gunBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than 20,000 guns were purchased by people the FBI deemed unfit to own firearms in the past 15 years because of a disagreement between the bureau and ATF.

A new report from the Office of Inspector General reveals a loophole that allowed people to buy guns, even though they were deemed unfit, the Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The responsibility for running background checks on prospective gun owners belongs to the FBI.

But the ATF and FBI disagree on who qualifies as a “fugitive of justice,” a label that is supposed to prevent prospective buyers from purchasing guns.

The FBI believes anyone with an outstanding warrant should not be allowed to purchase a gun. But the ATF disagrees, saying people who with warrants should be allowed to buy guns in the state where the warrant was issued, but not in other states.

“We recommend that the OLC issue an opinion as soon as possible to clarify the correct definition of the ‘fugitive from justice’ category of the persons prohibited from purchasing a firearm,” the review concluded. “Only then can ATF and the FBI be certain the law is being applied appropriately and as intended.”

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