Investigations

Two Suspects in Custody, One Dead After ATF Agents Ambushed

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(U.S. Department of Justice)

GARY, Ind. – Two suspects are in custody and another is dead after ATF agents were ambushed Thursday in Indiana.

After one suspect was killed and another captured, a two-day manhunt ensued for the final perpetrator after the shooting of an undercover federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Gary, Ind. The final man was arrested Saturday, officials said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana said Bernard Graham, 25, turned himself in to federal authorities around 12:15 p.m.

Graham and Blake King, 19, of Chicago were each charged Friday with federal offenses of assaulting a federal agent and using a firearm in a crime of violence, according to prosecutors.

Investigators said the pair and a third suspect, Raymon Truitt II, ambushed federal agents on Thursday during an illegal weapons investigation in Gary, Ind., located just southeast of Chicago.

ATF agents
Bernard Graham, left, and Blake King have been charged with assaulting a federal agent and using a firearm in a crime of violence. (U.S. Department of Justice)

An undercover ATF agent was shot in the chest and arm before the wounded agent’s partner then shot Truitt, according to Chicago Sun-Times. Truitt died at the scene.

“Gun violence doesn’t stop at the state line and neither do government investigations,” U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II said in a statement. “We will continue to coordinate with law enforcement and prosecutors in this jurisdiction and others including Northern Illinois to defeat these criminals. We will never tolerate gun violence and never stop doing all we can to defeat it.”

King appeared Friday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich for an initial hearing on the charge of attempting to kill the ATF agent with a deadly weapon. King faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, reported nwitimes.com.

King requested the court appoint a defense attorney to represent him at public expense. Rodovich determined King qualifies for a federal defender.

Rodovich also granted a request by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Mahoney to have King held in federal detention pending the outcome of a hearing now set to take place Wednesday on whether he could be granted pre-trial bail.

No hearing has yet been scheduled for Graham, who faces the same charges and penalty.

A fourth individual, Leondre Smith, 29, of Dolton, Illinois, is in custody but prosecutors are evaluating whether to charge him.

Smith, Graham and Truitt are all felons.

The shooting on Thursday was the second time in just over a month that an ATF agent was shot in the Chicago area. In May, an undercover ATF agent was shot in the face in Chicago during a joint operation with the city’s police department. He was one of nearly 40 people shot in Chicago over a three day period of time.

The agent in that shooting was part of a joint task force with the ATF, Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police investigating the flow of illegal firearms into the Windy City.

The ATF’s national office in Washington, D.C., sent 20 agents to Chicago last year to help local authorities combat the city’s gun violence epidemic. The agents joined dozens of law enforcement officials already in the city.

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