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Tag: obit

TSA Officer Dies from COVID-19, Ninth Employee Killed by Coronavirus

TSA employee Eduard Faktorvich. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

The coronavirus claimed the life of a TSA officer at Denver International Airport.

Eduard Faktorvich, who joined the TSA in Denver in April 2018, worked exclusively at the security checkpoint. He died Monday, the TSA announced Tuesday. 

“His colleagues remember him as a kind and respectful person, who always had a smile on his face,” the TSA said in a statement. “Although Eduard was with TSA for only two and half years, the entire team at DEN is saddened by the loss of one their own.”  

Faktorvich is the ninth TSA employee to die from COVID-19. Another 2,885 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“His death is a reminder to all of us at TSA of the ongoing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the TSA said. “We remain committed to continuing to take every precaution to help protect our workforce as well as airline travelers.”

James Davis, Ex-FBI Agent Who Helped Process Saddam Hussein After His Capture, Died Unexpectedly

FBI Agent James Davis helping process Iraq leader Saddam Hussein after he was captured.

By Steve Neavling

James Davis, the former FBI agent who led the team that processed Saddam Hussein after his capture in Iraq and later led the Denver Field Office, has died. 

Davis was walking his dog when he had a heart attack Friday morning, The Denver Post reports

A Detroit native, Davis began his career with the FBI in 1985. After serving as assistant special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, Davis served as the deputy on-scene commander of the bureau’s Baghdad Operations Center in Iraq, where he was responsible for overseeing post-war counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations from November 2003 to December 2004.

In December 2003, when Hussein was captured from an underground hiding spot, Davis led the team that questioned, fingerprinted and collected DNA samples from the former Iraqi dictator.

“He shook. He was just a sick, old man,” Davis said in the 2008 interview. “He was just coughing. He was not healthy and he had not eaten well.”

Davis went on to serve as the on-scene commander for the FBI in Afghanistan from December 2004 to February 2005, leading the bureau’s operations to hunt down al Qaeda operatives. 

In March 2008, Davis was named special agent in charge of the Denver Field Office. 

After 26 years with the FBI, Davis became the public safety and homeland security advisor in Colorado, where he served for three years in Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration.

“Jim Davis, in the face of danger and disaster, always put others first. He was the unsung hero who made the 2008 DNC Convention a great success, and Colorado was fortunate that he agreed to come reorganize our Department of Public Safety right before four of the most difficult years for our state,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “Jim was unwaveringly caring and empathetic, helping responders and victims to deal with some of the worst tragedies imaginable. We lost a great Coloradan and a great man today. My heart goes out to his family and friends across the state and around the world.”

Davis later worked in Colorado as a security consultant and most recently was a security advisor in Denver to the National Football League.  

Davis graduated from Michigan State University with an accounting degree in 1982 and worked as a certified public accountant in Chicago before joining the FBI.   

Texas Border Patrol Station Would Be Renamed in Honor of Fallen Agent Under Bill

Fallen Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings, Texas, would be renamed in honor of a fallen agent under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, introduced the Donna M. Moss Memorial Act of 2020 on Monday.

Moss, a 15-year-veteran of Border Patrol, was responding to a call for assistance when she was stuck and killed by a vehicle in Abilene on Feb. 2, 2019.

“In addition to leading a distinguished career with the Border Patrol, Agent Doss was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother,” Cornyn said in a news release. “Her loss was another solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make every day, and I hope memorializing her service at the Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings will help honor her ultimate sacrifice.”

Two days after Moss was killed, Cornyn honored the fallen agent on the Senate floor. Here’s what he said:

“It’s with a heavy heart that I come to the Senate floor this morning to express my deepest condolences for the friends, family, and colleagues of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss, who was killed in the line of duty this last weekend.

During her more than 15 years of dedicated service, Agent Doss has made immeasurable contributions to public safety both in Texas and beyond.

In addition to leading a distinguished career, Agent Doss was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother. Her loss is another solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make every day.

We’re grateful to all of those who put their lives on the line when they put a uniform on each morning ready to confront the unknown challenges that lie ahead. I’m particularly grateful to the men and women in green who make up our nation’s Border Patrol, like Agent Doss. I want to thank Agent Doss’s family for her selfless service and sacrifice, and I send my heartfelt condolences to agent doss’s family, friends, Acting Sector Chief Matthew Hudak, and the agents of the Del Rio Border Patrol sector where she honorably served, and the entire Border Patrol family during this difficult time.”

McAllen Station Border Patrol Agent Dies from COVID-19

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent from the McAllen Station in Texas has died from the coronavirus.

Enrique J. Rositas died Saturday “after a courage battle with COVID-19,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Brian Hastings announced on Twitter.

“Agent Rositas proudly served the United States Border Patrol for nearly 23 years. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and coworkers during this difficult time,” Hastings said. “He will be truly missed.

The McAllen Station, which patrols 53 miles along the Rio Grande, is part of the Rio Grand Valley Sector.

“The El Paso Sector mourns the loss of Border Patrol Agent Enrique J. Rositas of the Rio Grande Valley Sector,” El Paso Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the agents & professional staff employees of RGV.”

James B. Adams, Former Acting FBI Director, Dies at 93

James B. Adams

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James B. Adams, who served as acting FBI director for nine days in February 1978, has died.

He was 93.

Born in Corsicana, Texas, Adams served during Word War II and received a law degree from Baylor Law School.

Adams was elected to the Texas House of Representatives before resigning to become an FBI special agent in July 1951. In 1958, he served as special agent in charge of the bureau’s Minneapolis office. In 1972, he became special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio office.

From Feb. 15, 1978 to Feb. 23, 1978, Adams served as acting director of the FBI until William H. Webster was sworn in.

Adams retired form the FBI in May 1979 and began serving as director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) from 1980 to 1987.

“Colonel Adams had a storied career in law enforcement, one that was filled with accomplishments and accolades, and he leaves a behind a legacy that still benefits the law enforcement profession today,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. “During his seven-year tenure at DPS, Colonel Adams provided outstanding leadership and fully supported the men and women at DPS who risked their lives daily to protect and serve Texas. After more than 30 years, DPS continues to benefit from his legacy, and on behalf of the men and women of DPS, I extend our sincere condolences to his family.”

First TSA Employee Dies from Coronavirus; More than 100 others have tested positive

TSA’s Francis “Frank” Boccabella III.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

It was only a matter of time.

More than 100 TSA employees, most of them screeners, have tested positive for the coronavirus since the U.S. outbreak began.

On Thursday, Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, an expositive detection canine handler at Newark Liberty International Airport, became the first TSA employee to die from the coronavirus.

Boccabella was only 39. He worked as a TSA officer since June 2004, when he started out screening air cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“He is the first federal TSA employee who we have lost to COVID-19,” the TSA said in a news release. “The news of this loss strengthens our determination to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Ralph Himmelsbach, FBI’s Lead Investigator in D.B. Cooper Case, Has Died

FBI sketch of D.B. Cooper

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Ralph Himmelsbach, the lead FBI agent in the mysterious 1971 skyjacker case of D.B. Cooper, has died.

The retired agent died Tuesday in Woodburn, Oregon, at the age of 94, The Oregonian reports.

Himmelsbach was best known for the decade he spent investigating the hijacking of Northwest Orient Flight 305. Cooper boarded the plane in Portland, Ore. He claimed to have a bomb and had the plane fly to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he got the ransom money. He subsequently parachuted from the plane and was never found.

After his retirement, Himmelsbach wrote the book “Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper” and “The Secrets of the FBI.”

“Special Agent Himmelsbach retired from the FBI almost 40 years ago, but he never left the FBI family,” Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said. “Through the later years of his long career and into retirement, he was seen as an expert on the mysteries of the D.B. Cooper disappearance. He will be missed by all who had the chance to come to know him.”

Born on Sept. 28, 1985, in Oakland, Calif., Himmelsbach graduated from the University of Oregon and later served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Himmelsbach joined the FBI in 1951 and became a reputable, dogged investigator.

Later in his life, Himmelsbach said D.B. Cooper likely did during his jump from the plane.

FBI Agents Say Hijacker D.B. Cooper Probably Died During His Jump

Journalist Who Exposed ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Ties with FBI Dies

One of the books co-written by Gerald O’Neill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gerald M. O’Neill, an intrepid Boston Globe journalist who helped expose mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as an FBI informant, has died.

He was 76.

O’Neill was a longtime investigative reporter and editor for the newspaper’s Spotlight Team when he revealed in 1988 that Bulger was killing people while snitching for the FBI. At the time, the bureau was protecting the murderous crime boss.

“That stopped time in Boston,” Stephen A. Kurkjian, one of the original Spotlight reporters, told New York Times for an obit.

Kurkjian said the FBI told the Globe its information was erroneous and would embarrass the newspaper if it dropped the bombshell report. But editors stood behind O’Neill’s investigative work and published the story. After all, O’Neill had valuable sources within the FBI.

“It was a nerve-racking moment,” Dick Lehr, a Spotlight reporter who worked on the series with Mr. O’Neill, told the Times.

A decade later, the FBI finally admitted publicly that O’Neill and his team was right – Bulger was an FBI informant.

O’Neill and Lehr wrote two books about Bulger. One of them, “Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal,” which was published in 2000, was turned into a 2015 movie in which Johnny Depp starred as Bulger.

O’Neill died at his Boston home Thursday after complications with interstitial lung disease.