Slain border agent’s family files lawsuit
Suit targets federal officials as well as owner of gun store.
PHOENIX — The family of a slain Border Patrol agent has sued federal officials over the botched “Fast and Furious” gun operation, claiming they should have known it created a risk to law enforcement authorities.
Agent Brian Terry was mortally wounded on Dec. 14, 2010, in a firefight north of the ArizonaMexico border between U.S. agents and five men who had sneaked into the country to rob marijuana smugglers.
The case was filed Thursday, one day short of the two-year anniversary of Terry’s death and a deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in federal court.
Federal authorities who conducted “Fast and Furious” have faced tough criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers for a smuggling ring to walk away from gun shops in Arizona with weapons, rather than arrest them and seize the guns.
The lawsuit made publicly available on Friday was filed by Terry’s parents against six managers and investigators for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The family also sued a federal prosecutor who had previously handled the case but is no longer on it, and the owner of the gun store where two rifles found in the aftermath of the firefight were bought.
The family alleges the ATF officials and federal prosecutor created a risk to law enforcement officers such as Terry, and that the firearms agents should have known their actions would lead to injuries and deaths to civilians and police officers in America and Mexico.
The family also alleged that firearms agents and the prosecutor sought to cover up the link between Terry’s death and the botched “Fast and Furious” investigation.
The lawsuit said Lone Wolf Trading Co., a Glendale gun store where the two guns found at the shootout scene were bought, should have known that certain people who bought guns in the store were straw gun buyers for Mexican drug cartels.
Larry Gaydos, a lawyer who represents Lone Wolf owner Andre Howard, didn’t immediately respond to requests Friday.