Shootout in Tallahassee Prison (Breaking) (Video)
A shootout in a Tallahassee, Florida federal prison has left one federal agent dead and another wounded, CNN reports.
Three people were shot, two fatally, at a Tallahassee, Florida, federal prison Wednesday as federal agents were serving an indictment on six corrections officers, authorities said. One of those being arrested opened fire, said Jeff Westcott, spokesman for the FBI’s Jacksonville bureau. Federal agents returned fire, killing the suspect, Westcott said. An agent with the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General died in the shootout, he said. A Bureau of Prisons official was wounded.
More from AP:
FBI agents and Justice Department investigators were at the center to serve arrest warrants when one of the six guards shot a federal correctional institution officer, said FBI spokesman John Girgenti. Girgenti said an officer fired back. He declined to comment on whether the shooter was among the victims. Tallahassee police said earlier that the shooter was in custody.
The condition of the survivor and identities of the victims were not immediately released. “The community is safe. The institution is in lockdown status,” federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Carla Wilson said.
More as the story develops.
What is not clear at this juncture, in addition to the identity of the second fatality (presumably an inmate rather than an agent, given that the death of one agent and wounding of another have been reported), is why the FBI decided to storm the building to arrest armed guards rather than, say, having them report to the warden’s office or arresting them at their homes.
UPDATE: Details are still sketchy several hours later. CNN:
Three people were shot, two fatally, at a Tallahassee, Florida, federal detention center Wednesday as federal agents went to arrest six corrections officers, authorities said. The six guards were being arrested in an investigation into allegations that guards were trading drugs for sex with female inmates.
One of those being arrested opened fire about 7:45 a.m., said Jeff Westcott, spokesman for the FBI’s Jacksonville bureau. Federal agents returned fire, killing the suspect, Westcott said. An agent with the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General died in the shootout, he said. A Bureau of Prisons official was wounded.
A federal grand jury indictment names guards Alfred Barnes, Gregory Dixon, Ralph Hill, Vincent Johnson, Alan Moore and E. Lavon Spence. They face conspiracy charges for allegedly trading drugs, money and other prison contraband for sex with inmates. The federal indictment also details alleged attempts to cover up the sexual encounters, including paying bribes and threatening to transfer potential informers to prisons farther from their families.
The updated AP story (note: The links to these remain constant but the content varies as the stories are updated) has this bit of explanation:
When FBI agents and Justice Department investigators arrived at the center Wednesday morning to arrest the six men, one of the indicted guards shot a federal correctional institution officer, said FBI spokesman John Girgenti. He said the officers fired back.
The agents were not expecting the prison guards to be armed, the law enforcement official told the AP, though he could not immediately explain why.
The official said the guard fired with a personal weapon, wounding the Bureau of Prisons employee who was assisting with the arrest. Agents from the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office returned fire, killing the guard, the official said, adding that a Justice Department agent was killed in the exchange. It wasn’t immediately clear who fired that fatal shot.
Very odd. It’s not at all clear from the print accounts (I’ve seen no television coverage) what exactly went down. One would presume prison guards are armed, ordinarily, so it may well be that they somehow got these men into a secure location and had them turn in their weapons before the arrest attempt. If that’s the case, though, one wonders why they weren’t searched for hidden weapons.