Star-Ledger Of Newark Reports
NEWARK, N.J. -- During the arrest of suspects thought to be involved in a string of violent bank heists, one FBI agent may have mistook a fellow agent for a robber and fired the shot that killed him, according to a newspaper report.
Special Agent Barry Lee Bush, 52, died Thursday after being shot while helping take down the suspected robbers at a Readington Township bank.Bureau officials have released few details of Bush's death, pending an investigation, saying in a statement Thursday only that he "may have been fatally wounded as a result of the accidental discharge of another agent's weapon during a dynamic arrest situation.
"But a report by The Star-Ledger of Newark for Sunday's newspapers that cites two law enforcement sources close to the investigation says Bush's death may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Officials are looking into whether Bush stepped too close to the robbers' getaway vehicle as the arrest was going down and drew the fire of a SWAT team member who was on his first mission and mistook him for a robber, the newspaper reported.At least three shots were fired, two of which hit Bush's car door and one that entered his shoulder before it tore through his chest, the newspaper reported.
"You see that coming out of the fog, what do you do?" a law enforcement source told the newspaper. "You are trying to recognize friend or foe within a half-second. It was a friendly fire in the fog of war.
"Bush died soon after arriving at University Hospital in Newark.A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment Sunday on the newspaper's report.
The agents had been investigating a group of bank robbers who were suspected of robbing four banks while wearing trench coats, brandishing weapons and on two occasions even firing into the air.
On Thursday, law enforcement officials followed three of the four men suspected of being involved in the ring to a PNC Bank in Readington Township, where they were then arrested.
Two men were arrested on the scene at which agents also confiscated two assault rifles and a handgun. A third suspect escaped on foot and was captured Friday morning. A fourth suspect was arrested at another location Thursday in connection with one of the earlier holdups.