Brian Terry family sues ATF officials in Fast and FuriousBrian Terry with his father Kent Terry, Sr. in an undated family photo. / CBS News/Terry family
The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is suing seven government employees and a gun shop and its owner for negligence and wrongful death.The 72-page lawsuit
filed last week claims the defendants "created, organized, implemented and/or participated in a plan - code named 'Operation Fast and Furious' - to facilitate the distribution of
dangerous firearms to violent criminals" and that they "knew or should have known that their actions would cause substantial injuries, significant harm, and even death to Mexican and American civilians and law enforcement, but were recklessly indifferent to the consequence of their actions."
Agent Terry was gunned down in Arizona on Dec. 15, 2010 by illegal immigrants who used at least two rifles bought in Fast and Furious.
Those being sued are:
- Bill Newell, then-Special Agent in Charge of ATF's Phoenix office where Fast and Furious was based.
- George Gillett, then-Assistant Special Agent in Charge of ATF in Phoenix.
- David Voth, then-leader of the ATF group that executed Fast and Furious.
- Hope MacAllister, the lead ATF group agent on the case.
- Tonya English, an ATF agent in the group.
- William McMahon, the ATF supervisor in charge of field operations at the time.
- Emory Hurley, the lead prosecutor for the Department of Justice on the case working for the U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix.
- Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company gun shop, which was cooperating with ATF agents in Fast and Furious and sold at least two of the rifles later believed trafficked to Mexican drug cartels and used in the murder of Agent Terry.
- Lone Wolf Trading Company is also named in the suit.
The defendants who have spoken out during the Fast and Furious investigation have denied any wrongdoing. Newell and Gillett have said Fast and Furious was sanctioned at high levels at ATF and Justice Department headquarters, and that they turned to the controversial strategy of letting guns "walk" into the hands of Mexicans gun cartels because prosecutors were turning away their smaller cases involving just the so-called "straw purchasers" who move the weapons. Howard, the gun shop owner, has told CBS News that he acted under the direction of ATF agents who convinced him to cooperate and complete gun sales to suspicious purchasers.
The lawsuit claims that more ATF agents could be liable, as well as other Justice Department attorneys and administrators; but because of "actions to cover up their wrongdoing and hide their misconduct," their names are not currently known, and could be added at a later date.
Lengthy investigations by Congress and the Inspector General have faulted at least 17 ATF and Justice Department officials for alleged mismanagement and other violations of conduct.
Over the past two years, CBS News has repeatedly requested directly, or through ATF and the Justice Department, on camera interviews with each of the defendants named in the Terry lawsuit. No interviews have been granted.