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THE NATION

Federal Officer Killed in Detroit

Crime: Guard asked about a bag carried by the man, who then pulled a pistol and shot the agent. Suspected gunman is wounded.

September 22, 2001|From Associated Press

DETROIT — A man carrying a handgun in a paper bag fatally shot a federal officer at a security checkpoint Friday when he was told he could not take the gun into the building, which houses FBI offices, authorities said.

The gunman then was shot and seriously wounded, authorities said.

The man entered the lobby of the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building and put the bag on a counter by the metal detector, FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney said. After his request to take the gun inside was refused, he reached in the bag and fired, she said.

Killed was 36-year-old Ronald C. Sheffield, the FBI said. There was no indication the shooting was related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Clenney said.

A witness, Joel Vander Linden of Warren, said he was waiting in line at the metal detectors when he heard a man behind him "complaining loudly . . . cussing."

Vander Linden said that, as he was going to the elevators, he heard a "boom," but was rushed out the door before he could see anything.

Another witness, Henry Verner, said he heard three or four shots and people yelling.

"There was a lot of unrest and people were scurrying to protect themselves," Verner said. He said he later saw someone who apparently had been shot lying on the floor but couldn't describe the person.

Sheffield was taken by ambulance to Detroit Receiving Hospital.

A second man, apparently the shooting suspect, was taken out of the building on a stretcher with his neck in a brace and a pile of bandages on his abdomen.

An ambulance left under police escort for an undisclosed hospital. The building was evacuated and the area was cordoned off.

The suspect was not immediately identified.

Besides the FBI, the building has offices for agencies including the IRS, Veterans Affairs, the National Labor Relations Board and Housing and Urban Development.

The slain officer joined Federal Protective Services in 1998, said David Wilkinson, spokesman for the General Services Administration. Before that, he was a military policeman with the Marine Corps and a police officer with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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