By a Biometrica staffer
A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent was killed in Tucson, Arizona, on Monday, Oct. 4 when a passenger on an Amtrak train fatally shot him. The passenger also died in the course of the operation in which officers were performing a routine inspection for illegal contraband, AZcentral reported.
“It’s very horrific and we’re all just coming to terms with just how terrible a loss this is,” Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus was quoted as saying, outside the hospital where a wounded police officer and another DEA agent were receiving treatment. “But I also want to reflect on the really heroic actions of the officers at the scene. They literally ran towards the danger, into the car, where there was an active shooting situation going on. I just think it’s kind of incredible here there weren’t other people who were hurt, even though we’re completely so saddened by the loss of the officer.”
The shooting happened a little after 8AM on Monday, on the Sunset Limited Train 2 going from Los Angeles to New Orleans, after DEA agents and Tucson police officers boarded the train to check for illegal money, weapons and drugs when the train had stopped downtown.
A passenger was in the process of being detained on the upper level of a double-decker car, when another pulled out a handgun and fired several rounds at officers, who returned fire, Reuters reported. He then hunkered down in a lower-level bathroom where he was eventually found dead.
There were 12 other passengers in the car where the incident occurred. In total, there were 137 passengers and 11 crew members on the train, who were all taken to safety after the incident occurred.
The agent’s condition was critical while the officer was reported to be stable. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey took to Twitter to express his condolences over the incident.
The New York Times said that it was unclear what set off the shooting or if the shooting was restricted to the train or also spilled out onto the platform. There was video of the incident that showed a law enforcement officer approaching an open door on the train with a dog even as shots fired and the two were forced to retreat.
One individual was detained but authorities did not identify either the DEA agent who was killed, the injured law enforcement officials or the person in custody, according to NBC News.
An eyewitness, Evan Courtney, described what happened to the Associated Press via Direct Message on Twitter. “I grabbed my backpack and ran,” said Courtney, an executive pastor who runs a web and graphic design agency. “I looked out of the window and saw SWAT with assault rifles huddled behind barricades. I really couldn’t believe this was happening to me. And I didn’t have any information to go off of. I could fight or flight.”
Anne Milgram, the DEA Administrator, said in a statement from the agency, “We at the DEA are heartbroken by today’s events and ask that you keep the families of the agents and task force officer in your thoughts and prayers.”
U. S. Attorney General Merrick Garland echoed these sentiments: “This past week has been a reminder for all of us at the Department of Justice of the risks our deputies, agents and local law enforcement partners confront each day,” he said via a media release. “We are grateful for the courage and selfless sacrifice of these heroes, and I join the entire Justice Department in conveying our support and deepest sympathies to their families.”