Two months after the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office remain silent. But family members, and others, are speaking out. Key developments include:
- 3 out of 4 suspects arrested at the shooting scene have been released for deportation.
- Terry family members fear a government cover-up means their son's killer will never be caught.
- Sen. Charles Grassley has launched a Senate Judiciary investigation saying the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives "may have become careless, if not negligent," in handling "Project Gunrunner," errors that may have contributed to Terry's death.
- Border Patrol radio logs from December 14 show Terry was shot at 11:15 p.m. No pulse at 11:40 p.m. Transported to a Nogales mortuary at 3:41 a.m. the next day, escorted by an honor guard.
- The slug that killed Terry came from an AK-47 dropped at the scene. The weapon was traced to a Phoenix gun store, which had reported the sale to ATF's "Project Gunrunner."
- The day after Terry was shot, sources say ATF arrested the man who bought that gun and many others, hoping to avoid embarrassment or an appearance of negligence.
"I was his stepmother for 25 years, and if it is the last thing I do, they are not going to let this case die," Carolyn Terry told Fox News.
"To me they're covering up, they're trying to cover up something. Why don't they come out and tell us the truth?"
Terry told us contrary to Border Patrol claims that bean bags were not deployed that night, she claims sources inside the agency have told her family, "Eight bandits came down the trail, Brian's team yelled, ‘Policia, Policia,’ and he said they started retreating. These eight bandits. But then two of the border patrol shot the bean bags and then they opened fire."
Her son was shot and killed. His gun, she says, was never fired.
Helicopters were immediately deployed out of Tucson and the command center erected. Four arrested were made, but the investigation has revealed that three of them were simply illegal immigrants and had nothing to do with the 'bandits' -- otherwise known as Sinaloa cartel members acting as a rip-off crew to strip rivals of money and drugs as they crossed in the trails near Rio Rico.
As ranking chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Grassley has sent three letters to the ATF and Department of Justice seeking answers, including a 30-page report from the ATF's Agent-in-Charge in Phoenix to Washington superiors, detailing the agency's exposure in Terry's death.
The DOJ told Grassley it is wrong to suggest ATF 'sanctioned' or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw buyer who then sent them to Mexico.
However, other sources say that's exactly what happened, knowingly or not. Not all agencies let ‘guns walk' in order to lead to higher-ups. Precisely for fear the guns will be used in crimes.
Just one person remains in custody in Terry's death. It is not known if he will be charged or treated as a material witness by the DOJ. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix and the FBI refused to comment for this report.