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Staged Gun Buy Leads to Shootout That Wounded ATF Agent

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was shot in the chest Thursday in Gary.

GARY, Ind. -- It was a controlled buy of illegal guns that led to an ATF agent being shot in Gary Thursday.

US Attorney Thomas Kirch said Friday that two men face federal charges, but that only one of them is in custody. 

Blake King, 19, is being held in the Lake County Jail. Bernard Graham, 25, is on the run. ATF is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

"Graham and King have been charged with assaulting a federal officer and we will shortly be seeking indictments from a federal grand jury which may or may not include additional charges," Kirsch said.

Kirsch says another man, LeAndre Smith, who is also in custody but has not been charged yet, was trying to arrange an illegal sale of hand guns to an ATF informant in Gary Thursday afternoon. Smith, the informant, and undercover ATF agents met up with King, Graham and another man identified as Raymon Truitt II. 

"Truitt asked the informant for the money for the firearms which Graham was possessing," Kirsch continued. "The informant then went to the car where the undercover ATF agents were seated to retrieve the money."

"Blake King then handed the informant a bag and said word to the affect that the guns were inside the bag. The informant then placed the bag on the ground to look inside the bag, only to discover that pots and pans were inside," said Kirsch.

That's when he says King and Graham opened fire on the two undercover agents in the car hitting one of the agents in his chest. The agents returned fire. Smith was killed in the exchange of gun fire. 

King was captured by responding police and federal agents but Graham escaped and is still on the run. The wounded ATF agent is in the hospital and is in critical by stable condition.

(Photo: ATF Twitter Account / @ATFHQ.)

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