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ATF agent shot, suspect killed after ambush on undercover operation in Indiana

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© Becky Jacobs/Chicago Tribune/TNS The 600 block of Kentucky Street in Gary, Ind., is closed off to traffic on Thursday, June 7, 2018…

By Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune
GARY, Ind.

An ATF agent was shot multiple times and a suspect died after an ambush on a law enforcement operation Thursday in Gary, officials said.

Dozens of officers from multiple agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Gary police, Lake County Sheriff's Department and Indiana State Police were at two scenes in Gary on Thursday afternoon. Prosecutor Bernard Carter said investigators were still determining if the scenes were connected.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brendan Iber, of the ATF Chicago division, said an ATF agent was in critical but stable condition after being "shot multiple times."

"Today, ATF was conducting an undercover operation in Gary, Ind., when our agent was ambushed," Iber said Thursday afternoon outside Methodist Hospital Northlake.

Iber did not release further information "due to the ongoing investigation."

The identity of the suspect who died has not been released. Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman, said the ATF agent was shot in the chest and arm. He said Chicago police assisted in the operation.

Officials did not say where the shooting occurred.

Traffic was blocked off at 21st and Broadway where three damaged vehicles remained in the intersection in the afternoon.

Around noon, a white sedan drove through a stoplight in the area of Seventh Avenue and Tennessee Street in Gary, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said. As an officer approached the car, the driver took off, Martinez said. Four males were inside the vehicle, police said.

The white sedan collided with two other vehicles, each with two occupants, he said. All eight people were transported to the hospital, according to Martinez.

A man at the scene who declined to give his full name said he saw the white car "flying down Broadway" when it collided with a red truck. People nearby brought out a chair for the driver of the red truck to use, he said.

Another man who did not want to be identified said he arrived at the scene after the crash and saw the occupants being removed from the vehicles.

"That's just what happens here on funky, funky Broadway," the man said.

Law enforcement also blocked off two houses in a stretch of Kentucky Street north of Sixth Avenue in Gary. FBI and ATF agents were walking with vests and guns in the surrounding blocks looking into abandoned houses as a helicopter flew overhead.

Agents showed a picture to neighbors standing outside the crime scene tape to see if anyone recognized the person.

Marcus Miner, who said he has lived across the street from the blocked-off houses since 2006, stood outside the crime scene tape waiting to be let back in his house. Neighbors described hearing what they thought at first was fireworks, he said.

Last month, an ATF agent was shot in Chicago while conducting a narcotics investigation. The agent suffered a wound that caused damage near one of his eyes.

A reputed Chicago gang member pleaded not guilty to charges he shot an undercover ATF agent who was conducting an operation near the man's home in Chicago.

Ernesto "Ernie" Godinez, 28, was indicted on a single count of assaulting an ATF agent with a deadly weapon, a charge that carries up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Godinez, an alleged member of the Latin Saints street gang who is being held without bond, was accused of shooting the agent May 4 as the agent and several colleagues attempted to change out a tracking device on a vehicle.

Godinez's lawyer, Lawrence Hyman, has ridiculed the evidence in court as flimsy, noting a surveillance video didn't show the suspect with a gun.

___

(Post-Tribune reporter Cain Buchmeier and Chicago Tribune reporter Jeremy Gorner contributed.)

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: ATF agent shot, suspect killed after ambush on undercover operation in Indiana
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