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Tag: Tennessee

Two Tennessee Men Accused of Plotting to Murder FBI Agents in Tennessee

Edward Kelley is identified during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Photo via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Two Tennessee men have been charged with conspiring to murder FBI agents, and they face up to life in prison if convicted. 

Austin Carter, 26, of Knoxville and Edward Kelley, 33, of Maryville, are accused of plotting to attack the FBI’s Knoxville office and kill agents, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

Kelley, who was arrested for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, faces an additional charge of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and threatening the assault or murder of federal officials.

Authorities say the plot was hatched after Kelley was arrested in May on charges of assaulting a police officer during the insurrection. 

Kelley has pleaded not guilty to the Jan. 6-related charges. 

According to federal prosecutors, Kelley obtained a list of officers involved in the investigation of his role in the Capitol attack. A witness said Kelley discussed assassinating federal agents. 

Carter had obtained a list of 37 names and some phone numbers of law enforcement officials involved in the investigation and gave it to the witness, federal authorities said. 

Prosecutors said Kelley and Carter planned to attack the FBI office if either were arrested. 

According to the criminal complaint filed against the two men, Carter told the witness, “This is the time, add up or put up” and “to definitely make sure you got everything racked, locked up and loaded.”

Tennessee Man Accused of Plotting to Assassinate FBI Agents Following Jan. 6 Charges

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

A Tennessee man began planning to assassinate FBI agents who were investigating his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, federal prosecutors say. 

Edward Kelley was charged in the attack in May and accused of assaulting a Capitol police officer and breaking into the building. 

After his arrest, Kelley planned to storm the bureau’s Knoxville Field Office and kill some of the agents, the Miami Herald reports, citing court documents.

Kelley was busted after an acquaintance handed local police an envelope that included a list of 37 law enforcement officers he identified as targets on Dec. 13, according to court documents. 

Kelley, 33, of Knoxville, has since been charged with conspiracy, retaliating against a federal official, interstate communication of a threat, and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. An alleged co-conspirator, Austin Carter, 26, was charged with the same crimes. 

Ex-Tennessee State Senator Pleads Guilty to Charges He Previously Called a ‘Political Witch Hunt’

Former Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey

By Steve Neavling

Former Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey, who says criminal charges filed against him were part of “a political witch hunt,” has pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and conspiring to defraud the Federal Election Commission. 

Kelsey, 44, was involved in an illegal campaign finance scheme in connection with his failed congressional bid in 2016. 

Kelsey admitted to funneling more than $90,000 from his state campaign to his federal campaign. 

Kelsey also gave a $106,000 check to Nashville social club owner Joshua Smith in order to steer it to national Republican groups. Those groups then helped Kelsey’s congressional campaign, prosecutors said. 

Kelsey pleaded guilty last week. 

He initially pleaded not guilty and said the charges were “nothing but a political witch hunt,” a phrase often used by former President Donald Trump. 

ATF Agent Injured in Shootout with Drug Suspect in Tennessee

By Steve Neavling

An ATF agent was injured and a gunman killed in a shootout Tuesday afternoon in Tennessee. 

The agent was trying to arrest Corey Daniel Wellman as part of a drug-related investigation when the shootout occurred at about 2:15 p.m. in a parking of a string of businesses, Metro Nashville Police told reporters, The Tennessean reports.

As of Wednesday, the agent was still being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

No other law enforcement officers were injured. 

The FBI is leading the investigation. 

The agent was trying to serve an arrest warrant for Wellman, who had been charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. 

On Monday, a DEA agent was fatally shot aboard an Amtrak train in Tucson, Ariz., while conducting a routine inspection for illegal drugs and guns. 

Four Suspects Arrested in Shooting of ATF Agent, Police Officer in Tennessee

By Steve Neavling

Three adults and a teenager were charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a Memphis police officer and an ATF agent in Tennessee. 

The shooting occurred about 2:30 p.m. Friday when officers with a violent crimes unit were searching for a carjacked vehicle that was involved in a crash, Memphis police said on Twitter. The four suspects exited a red sedan and fired multiple shots at the officer and ATF agent before fleeing the scene. 

The officer and agents were taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. 

Authorities arrested Adarius Armstrong, 19, Barium Martin, 19, and a 17-year-old. 

U.S. Marshals tracked down a fourth suspect, 19-year-old Julius Armstrong, who was briefly at large.  

“With a Memphis Police Officer and ATF Agent Shot and a suspect on the run, finding the suspect became our number one priority, as we worked to assist our local and federal partners,” U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller said in a statement. “We have used every means possible and were able to locate him within 12 hours. With the assistance of MPD and ATF, we were able to take the suspect into custody with no injuries to him or any law enforcement officer.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey French added, “Removing the criminal element that uses firearms to facilitate violent crimes is a priority of ATF. ATF’s partnerships with the Memphis PD and the U.S. Marshals Service in the arrest of these individuals will have a lasting impact on the community.” 

Police, FBI Warned about Nashville Bombing suspect in 2019

Anthony Quinn Warner

By Steve Neavling

Police and the FBI were alerted to Nashville bombing suspect Anthony Quinn Warner about 16 months ago, when his girlfriend reported he was building explosives in his RV, according to a police report obtained by The Tennessean.

But it doesn’t appear that anything was done to stop Warner, who authorities say died in the Christmas Day explosion that tore through downtown Nashville and injured three people. 

In August 2019, Warner’s girlfriend notified Nashville police that Warner “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence,” the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) report states.

The information was passed on to the FBI. 

“She related that the guns belonged to a ‘Tony Warner’ and that she did not want them in the house any longer,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement to The Tennessean.

The woman’s attorney, Raymond Throckmorton III, told police that Warner “frequently talks about the military and bomb making,” the report states. The attorney added that Warner “knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb.”

Police went to Warner’s home to investigate but no one answered the door, and the RV was fenced off behind the house. 

“They saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or fenced property,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron told the Tennessean. 

A day later, Nashville police forwarded the information to the FBI to check the bureau’s databases, Aaron said. Later in the day, “the FBI reported back that they checked their holdings and found no records on Warner at all,” Aaron said. 

“Somebody, somewhere dropped the ball,” Throckmorton said.

Aaron responded that there was no evidence of wrongdoing at the time. 

“At no time was there any evidence of a crime detected and no additional action was taken,” he said. “No additional information about Warner came to the department’s or the FBI’s attention after August 2019.”

FBI: Nashville Bombing Suspect Died in Blast

Suspect’s RV in downtown Nashville, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Forensic tests show the suspect in the downtown Nashville bombing on Christmas morning died in the explosion, the FBI said Sunday. 

The bureau matched the DNA of tissue samples found at the scene with that of the suspect Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, of Antioch, TN. 

Investigators got a break in the case when the Tennessee Highway Patrol located and recovered the VIN from the suspect’s RV. That information, along with tips from the public, led investigators to the home of the suspect. 

FBI and ATF agents are still recovering and analyzing evidence. No motive has been identified yet. 

Authorities said there’s no evidence that additional suspects were involved.

“Leads are still being followed, but at this time, there is no indication that any other individuals are involved,” the bureau said in a news release

The blast rocked downtown Nashville, injuring three people and heavily damaging businesses, including an AT&T switching center.   

Douglas Korneski Named Special Agent in Charge of Memphis Field Office

Special Agent Douglas Korneski.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Douglas Korneski, a 19-year veteran of the FBI, has been named special agent in charge of the Memphis Field Office.

Korneski was serving as a deputy assistant director in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Korneski’s career with the FBI began as a special agent in 2001, working counterintelligence and counterterrorism issues in the Los Angeles Field Office. He also served on the SWAT team.

In 2006, Korneski was promoted to supervisory special agent and transferred to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters.

In 2008, Korneski became unit chief of the newly formed National Security Analysis Center within the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force.

In 2010, he served as the supervisor for domestic terrorism on the Joint Terrorism Task Force at the Atlanta Field Office. In 2014, Korneski served as the assistant special agent in charge of Atlanta’s Criminal Branch.

In 2016, Korneski was tapped to serve as the first section chief of the Office of Private Sector at headquarters.

In 2018, Korneski was named deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, overseeing issues related to mitigating chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats.

Before joining the FBI, Korneski graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He received a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina and graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program.