GARY — A convicted felon who was implicated in at least two previous shootings was identified as the person killed in what officials are calling an ambush of federal agents that left one agent in critical condition.
The shootout on the city's near north side was unrelated to a high-speed police chase in the city's Midtown section, according to officials.
Brendan Iber, assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Chicago Field Division, said ATF agents were ambushed and one was shot multiple times as they were conducting an undercover operation at a home near Fifth Avenue and Kentucky Street.
Iber said the agent, who was transported to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville, was in critical but stable condition as of Thursday night.
"Earlier today ATF agents were conducting an undercover operation in Gary, Indiana, when our agents were ambushed. One our our agents was shot multiple times," Iber said during a brief news conference. "Because this is an ongoing investigation, at this time, I cannot release any additional information. But I would like to thank the law enforcement community, the hospital staff and the public for their outpouring of support that we've received so far."
Another person involved in the shooting died. He was identified by the Lake County coroner's office as Raymon Truitt II, 28, of an unknown address.
According to the coroner's news release, Truitt died of gunshot wounds at 560 Kentucky St. Truitt was pronounced dead at 2:51 p.m.
Truitt has a felony record in Lake County. He was found guilty in 2014 of aggravated battery by means of deadly weapon in connection with a July 2, 2013, attempted murder at a Calumet Township apartment complex, according to court records.
Truitt was also convicted of felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury for shooting a man who was visiting his grandmother in 2016.
The man told Gary detectives the shooting might have stemmed from an on-going dispute that started when Truitt robbed him at gunpoint, according to court records.
In that case, two lesser felony counts of battery committed with a deadly weapon and battery resulting in serious bodily injury were dismissed.
Part of a larger operation
Alex Perez, reporting for ABC's World News Tonight, said the operation was part of a larger effort by the ATF to curb the flow of guns into Chicago.
The Chicago Police Department's official Twitter account sent out a tweet of solidarity to ATF.
"Thoughts and prayers for the @ATFHQ Chicago Field Office agent who was shot and critically wounded in Gary, Indiana. ATF Agents are working with us every hour of every day to reduce gun violence in Chicago and it's beyond a partnership, it's one team, one fight."
Thoughts and prayers for the @ATFHQ Chicago Field Office agent who was shot and critically wounded in Gary, Indiana. ATF Agents are working with us every hour of every day to reduce gun violence in Chicago and it's beyond a partnership, it's one team, one fight. pic.twitter.com/MYVrxM3PsB— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) June 7, 2018
Ben Miller, who lives across the street from where the shootout took place, said when he heard shots fired he went into his basement. After the shooting stopped he came up and saw a body lying in a yard between two homes surrounded by law enforcement officials.
Early Thursday evening, Miller said officers could be seen conducting a digital scan of the area.
Agencies involved in Truitt's death investigation are the Lake County coroner's office, ATF, Indiana State Police, Gary Police Department, DEA, U.S. Marshals and FBI.
This is the second time in just over a month an ATF agent was shot in the Chicago area.
On May 4, an ATF agent was shot in the 4500 Block of South Hermitage in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Car wreck injures 8
While police were at the scene of the shooting, local and state police investigated a car crash on Broadway and 21st Avenue.
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said the car chase took place about the same time as the shooting.
Ronnie Dahl, public information officer for the ATF, said early Thursday night there was no connection between the two incidents.
"Approximately noon, one of our high-crime units made a traffic stop at Seventh Avenue and Tennessee on a white vehicle occupied by four male blacks," Martinez said. "Upon our officer approaching the vehicle, it fled."
The officer called in other units and pursued the vehicle south on Broadway. He said the driver disregarded a red light and went through the intersection and collided with two other vehicles.
At least two witnesses on scene confirmed that the vehicle was driving well over the speed limit.
"There are a total of eight injuries, four in the suspect vehicle, two occupants in second car and two in the third vehicle," Martinez said.
All eight were transported to a local hospital. Indiana State Police are investigating the crash.
Sheriff's police cars were blocking Broadway south of 21st Avenue on Thursday afternoon. The scene of the wreck was taped off and all three damaged cars from the pursuit were still at the scene about 3:15 p.m. Loose auto parts were scattered across the road. The condition of those involved in the crash were not known as of late Thursday night.
The Sheriff's Department helicopter landed on Broadway near the accident scene to help with the investigation. One investigator could be seen walking across the street, spray-painting orange marks near vehicle debris scattered across the road every few feet.
"We have officers holding the four subjects who fled. We called state police to assist us in the accident reconstruction. We have the sheriff's crime lab processing the scene," Martinez said.
Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail
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