Special Agent Mike Garbo was killed in a shootout during a routine train inspection in Tucson that critically wounded another agent and left a police officer in stable condition.
October 07, 2021 – By Edward Celaya and Danyelle Khmara – Source The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson
A DEA agent shot and killed in a shootout on an Amtrak train stopped in Tucson Monday morning has been identified.
Meanwhile, a man who was killed in the gunfight may have been linked to a man who was arrested carrying bags of marijuana and related products that an agent found just before the shooting started, federal court documents indicate.
Special Agent Mike Garbo was killed during what has been called a routine inspection of a train car for contraband, like drugs and weapons.
A second Drug Enforcement Administration agent and a Tucson police officer were wounded in the gunfight. The DEA agent was listed in critical condition. The police officer was in stable condition. Both are being treated at Banner University Medical Center.
Devonte Okeith Mathis, whose name was on a list of people agents were investigating that also contained the man believed to have shot Garbo, was arrested after officers linked him to bags that contained about 2.39 kilograms of marijuana, marijuana edibles and other products related to the drug, according to federal court documents.
The other man — identified only as D.T in court documents — appears to be the man agents say fired a gun at officers and was shot and killed.
A DEA agent identified as J.C. in court documents boarded the train and said he observed D.T. and Mathis sitting in the same row, but on opposite sides of the aisle. The agent says he saw Mathis move several bags a few rows away and return to his seat, court documents say.
Mathis told the agent the bags were not his. The agent then opened the bags and found the marijuana and related products, the document says.
The shootout began when agents tried to make contact with D.T., the document says.
Neither the wounded law enforcement officers nor the two men have been publicly named.
“The DEA is deeply saddened to report that DEA Group Supervisor Michael G. Garbo died as a result of injuries sustained during the shooting,” the agency said in a news release Tuesday. “Group Supervisor Garbo joined DEA in 2005 and served honorably for more than 16 years as a Special Agent and Group Supervisor combatting criminal drug traffickers from the Nogales corridor to Kabul, Afghanistan.”
Members of the law enforcement community took to social media to describe Garbo as an excellent police officer who started out in Nashville, Tennessee. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said someone with the same name worked there between 1993 and 2005 but could not confirm he was the deceased agent, according to The Associated Press.
The gunfight started a few minutes after the Sunset Limited, Train 2, arrived at the Tucson depot about 7:40 a.m. on its way from Los Angeles to New Orleans.
The train was carrying 137 passengers and 11 crew members, officials have said. None was injured in the shootout that was partially captured on a camera near the train platform.
Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset Wednesday.
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