A Tucson Police Department SWAT truck is parked near the last two cars of an Amtrak train in downtown Tucson, Ariz., Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. One person is in custody after someone opened fire Monday aboard an Amtrak train in Tucson, Arizona, police said. The shooting happened just after 8 a.m. on a train parked at the station in the city's downtown. Authorities say the scene has been secured and no threat remains. (Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
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By Terry Tang and Michelle A. Monroe, AP

A Drug Enforcement Administration special agent was killed Monday when a passenger, who also died, opened fire as officers were doing a routine inspection for illegal contraband on an Amtrak train in Tucson, Arizona, authorities said. A second agent and a Tucson police officer were wounded.

“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 said. “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.”

Magnus spoke outside the hospital where the agent and Tucson officer had been taken. The agent was listed in critical condition while the officer was in stable condition. He said authorities would not be releasing their names.

The FBI has taken over the investigation of the shooting, which sent passengers fleeing. It happened just after 8 a.m. on a train stopped at the station in the city’s downtown. A regional task force of DEA agents and Tucson police officers had boarded one of the cars to do a typical check for illegal money, weapons and drugs. It’s a common occurrence at all transit hubs, Magnus said.

Officers were in the middle of detaining a man on the upper level of the double-decker car when a second man pulled out a handgun and began firing. He exchanged several rounds with police and then barricaded himself in a bathroom on the lower level, Magnus said.

He was later found dead inside.

The other suspect has been arrested. It wasn’t immediately known what charges he faces or his relationship to the second man.

Magnus praised Tucson police officers for getting the injured DEA agent off the train and rushing him to the hospital in the back of a patrol car. The hospitalized Tucson officer had been on the platform when he heard the shooting. He was shot when he ran into the car to help.

There were about a dozen other passengers in the car where the shooting occurred.

“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,” Magnus said.

Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams also confirmed there were no reported injuries to the crew or passengers.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent boards an Amtrak train after a shooting aboard the train in downtown Tucson, Ariz., on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

The Sunset Limited, Train 2, was traveling from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and arrived at the Tucson station at 7:40 am, Abrams said. There were 137 passengers and 11 crew members, he said. All have been evacuated to the station.

Evan Courtney was in a lounge car when people suddenly came running in yelling: “Shots fired!”

“I grabbed my backpack and ran,” Courtney told The Associated Press via Twitter direct messaging.

He said he huddled with other passengers while looking out the window. He saw several tactical police officers with assault rifles behind barricades. After 15 minutes, “police ran to us and told us to get out of the car and run in the opposite direction.”

Courtney later tweeted a photo of nearly two dozen officers including two embracing.

Dramatic video taken by a camera at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum shows some of the shooting.

Multiple shots can be heard from inside a train before a man, who appears to be a security officer with a dog, boards in the middle of the second-to-last car through an open door. Two bystanders back away and then run past a baggage cart, joining four others as they usher each other into the last car and the door slides shut, the video shows.

One shot is heard and the security officer, holding a gun, backs off the train with the dog still on the leash. He runs behind a structure on the train platform as a man appears at the passenger car door, fires three shots toward the fleeing man and dog, and disappears back inside.

The camera belongs to Virtual Railfan, which operates more than 50 cameras livestreaming train operations around the country for train buffs. Kathy Abbott, operations manager, said both Tucson police and Amtrak police have asked for any footage to be made available.

Virtual Railfan’s cameras do capture crime but “maybe not this dramatic,” Abbott said. “This was definitely an adrenaline rush.”

Tucson, home to the University of Arizona, is about 110 miles (180 kilometers) south of Phoenix.

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53 COMMENTS

      • But wait, there’s more:
        “DEA agents and Tucson police officers had boarded one of the cars to do a typical check for illegal money, weapons and drugs.”
        Seems unfair to those just visiting!

      • What exactly is illegal money?
        It says right at the top
        All debts public and private
        I understand illegal guns and illegal drugs
        There is no illegal money unless it is counterfeit

        • They probably mean money obtained trough illicit means. Such as proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs or guns.

        • My first thoughts exactly. Is there some prohibition against cash now? Has the goobermint actually declared all cash illegal and everything must be purchase with check or credit card or goobermint issued EBT card? Does one automatically give up all rights against illegal search and seizure by merely buying a ticket on Amtrak?

          It seems to me the cops instigated this by their unconstitutional actions in performing searches of passengers without probably cause.

    • “Fascist America is in full swing..”

      As I understand it, they can do pretty much whatever TSA can do to you at an airport.

      Going through the line at an airport, TSA can pull you aside and take you to a room and ‘cavity search’ you if they please, take a moistened wipe of you or your luggage, and feed them into a spectrometer to see if they get a ‘hit’. Insides of shoes are popular places for them to wipe to see if you swallowed drugs in a condom, for example..

      • Not quite. Every time I fly, I always opt out of the body scanner and go for the pat down. And every time, the agent tells me to follow him to another area for “my” privacy. I’ve never gone thru a scanner at any time in my life.

        And every time, I’ve declined and told the agent to perform his pat down right there next to the moving line, to permit as many eye witnesses as possible and minimize the chances of tomfoolery.

        And every time, the agent shrugs his shoulders and does it with a very bored look on his face.

      • I’ve had my hands and bags swabbed multiple times by TSA. I usually tell them I have recently been shooting so if they are looking for gun powder residue it will be there. Only once pulled out and taken to another room. No cavity searches yet, but there is always hope. Maybe I should start carrying lube 😉

        Philly is my favorite airport to check a gun because it is always funny.

        Me: “I need to check a firearm.”
        Everyone around: Looks on
        Counter girl: “OMG! YOU CAN’T TAKE A GUN ON A PLANE!”
        More people: Looking on
        Guy behind counter Girl, in his best batman voice: “I’ll handle this.”
        And from there it goes smoothly.

      • And shoes have residue from fertilizer so they will get a hit and its probable cause from then on. As far as they want to take it.

    • You beat me to it. I scrolled down to make this comment:

      From the article:
      “…as officers were doing a routine inspection for illegal contraband…”
      “A regional task force of DEA agents and Tucson police officers had boarded one of the cars to do a typical check for illegal money, weapons and drugs. It’s a common occurrence at all transit hubs…”

      This is where I openly and freely admit my ignorance of such things on commuter trains. I mean, commuter trains? I know that TSA’s V.I.P.R. teams (Visible Intermodal Personnel Response) have been reported to grill people after coming off trains, but now there are routine searches by DEA agents?

      I’ve never been on an Amtrak, MetroRail, et al. And never will. Screw that noise.

  1. “… a typical check for illegal money…” So in other words an amount of money worth stealing from members of the public? The line between these agents and the criminal thugs that they purport to protect the public is becoming increasingly blurry.

  2. No sympathy from me for the feds:
    “…a typical check for illegal money, weapons and drugs. It’s a common occurrence at all transit hubs…”

    The 4th Amendment wasn’t intended to be suspended just because you used public transportation (nor the 2nd). The “illegal money” garbage is even worse, as it’s just code for asset forfeiture, where the government takes your money and makes you sue them to prove it was tied to a crime.

    If the founding fathers were still around. They would have been the ones shooting at the ass-clowns in that “regional task force”

    • And that begs the question…what’s the cutoff? That magical line you step over from “legitimate personal property” to “illegal money”? Would they bother over $100 in your pocket? Would $500 raise their eyebrows (I often carry at least that much in cash when I vacation, sometimes much more)? Is it $2000? Is there some obscure court ruling that defines the point at which a LEO may “justifiably” question the amount of money on your person?

      • ”? Would they bother over $100 in your pocket? Would $500 raise their eyebrows

        Herr Braindead wants to make banks report ALL transactions of $600 or more, guess that might be the magic number now…

      • There is no cutoff. See, they can test it for drug residue, which nearly all cash has on it nowadays. Test shows blue, no more cash for you.

  3. My field of F’s is a barren wasteland for both parties involved.
    Similar opinion to the killings of the Iran/Iraq war.
    I’m not gonna say that i WISH for many more similar occurances, but if they happen….meh.

  4. This has nothing to do with the government having to control every aspect of our lives and criminalize everything it disapproves of, while snooping into everything we do.

    No, it’s about the omnipresent government agents protecting us from ourselves and our inclinations to exercise our free will. And the pro-government sycophants who willingly acquiesce to their demands in exchange for their protecting us from the scary criminals.

  5. I think this points out one very glaring thing about gun confiscation. You might say what the heck does this article have to do with that? Well I am going to tell you. There have been a number of cases over the past year where Federal Officers have tried as well as local police to apprehend real criminals and despite outnumbering them have come out on the short end numbers wise in the ratio of wounded or killed. Now if you think about these same people getting killed or wounded at even a ratio of three law enforcement to one perpetrator you can see the problem with confiscating over 300 million firearms from 150 million people when there are only about 3 million law enforcement and military many of whom are not even trained to do that sort of job. Given the current state of affairs they probably are not even going to bother. So I think there should be a rule that whoever makes up these rules has to be the first one to knock on the door where they are going to try to confiscate a persons firearms by force. Then of course you know they will change the law or do away with it because the cowards who make the law are not going to enforce it themselves.

  6. When agents of the government routinely accost the citizenry before there is evidence that a crime occurred they are asking for trouble. For those of you that have never had to work with a DEA agent before I assure you that the loss of one is nothing to cry over.

    • Please enlighten us with some tales about YOUR personal experiences working with DEA agents, or simply be quiet. Braver men than you have followed their flag, and followed their shield, across many dark scary places both foreign and domestic for very little money. So put up or shut up.

      • Yeah, he probably never heard of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.. His widow and three sons live with the knowledge that he was tortured for over 30 hours before having a power drill run through his skull and into his brain all while being kept awake and alert with drugs… At the time he was working in Guadalajara Mexico to take down Felix Gallardo, the head of (at the time) the largest drug cartel in Mexico…

        • Hundreds of thousands if not millions of men have died in the service of our country since its founding. No one death is more heroic than another. I’m sorry the man died from being tortured and yes I’ve heard of him before; so has everyone that has worked in law enforcement. He got stupid, got apprehended by the bad guys, and paid for it with his life. He’s been avenged several times over since then and let’s not forget that the DEA agents on the ground in Mexico who were looking for him killed four innocent people in the process but I don’t see anyone crying over those deaths.

        • And what good did it do?
          The War on Drugs starts with the people doing drugs. Stop the demand and you stop the war. How to do that? You cant, so the war on drugs is a waste of time and lives.

      • When crack was making its debut it ripped through the city I was working in and the DEA helped us form a county task force to combat the problem. Unfortunately the DEA agent that we were working with was more interested in lining his pockets with money taken off of dealers instead of being logged into evidence and everyone in the department knew it but couldn’t say a thing. The joke in law enforcement is how can you tell who the DEA agents are? Simple, they’re the ones wearing a gold Rolex.

  7. Question in my mind is who shot the cop who ran to the scene of the shooting and was shot as he entered the car? Blue on Blue shooting? Anyone want to put money on blue on blue over shot by the the other guy with a gun?

    Working in court for 25 years, I have to agree with Officer Bill based on my own experience.

  8. Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said. “They literally ran towards the danger, into the car, where there was an active shooting situation going on.”

    Well… except for that K9 officer and his dog, who promptly bailed out and hauled ass away from the train.

  9. MADDMAXX, Dirty and DEA agent are redundant terms. The same can be said about the CIA, and anyone above middle management levels in federal law enforcement.

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