Denver, CO – The federal agent who dropped his weapon and then accidentally shot a bystander after performing a backflip in a dance club has been charged, and will appear in a Denver courtroom on Wednesday (video below).
The incident, which was captured on video, quickly went internationally viral and has caused significant embarrassment for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
FBI Agent Chase Bishop, 29, turned himself in to Denver police on Tuesday morning, according to KMOV.
Maro Casparian, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, said an arrest warrant for Agent Chase had been issued to the Denver Police Department.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a news release that she was not going to wait for the results of the agent’s blood alcohol test to have him arrested.
“We are filing this charge now rather than waiting until the BAC report is received, which we understand could take another week, because sufficient evidence has been presented to file it,” McCann said. “If an additional charge needs to be filed after further evidence is received, we can file those charges then.”
The incident occurred at about 12:45 a.m. on June 2 at Mile High Spirits, according to The Denver Post.
Video showed the off-duty FBI agent dancing at the distillery and dance club.
While dancing, Agent Bishop did a backflip which caused his gun to drop out of his pants and hit the ground, the video showed.
The gun didn't fire when it fell, but while picking up the gun, the agent accidentally fired the weapon and shot a male onlooker in the leg.
Then Agent Bishop picked up the gun, shoved it back in his waistband and left the dance floor with his hands in the air, the video showed.
"Everyone was kind of shocked after it happened because [the agent] kind of put his gun back away and then he walked away,” a witness told KDVR.
The victim was struck in a main artery by the bullet, and could have bled to death, had a quick-thinking bystander not used his belt as a tourniquet on the victim’s leg, his attorney Frank Azar told KMGH.
Azar told the Denver Post that his client was expected to recover.
Denver police responded to the scene and took Agent Bishop to police headquarters before releasing him to an FBI supervisor. The agent works in Washington, DC, and was visiting Denver at the time of the incident.
Initial reports that charges might be filed after the lab completed tests of his blood alcohol level were met with outrage by members of the Denver community, KMGH reported.
“The main thing I'm concerned about is that he's being given incredibly special treatment because he's an FBI agent,” attorney and legal expert David Lane told KMGH. “Had that been ‘Joe Citizen’ in that bar doing exactly the same thing, the cops would have been there in a heartbeat. They would have slapped the cuffs on him and he would have been in jail on a fairly high bond. Because anybody acting that ridiculously stupid should be in jail on a high bond."
"How many epic screw-ups in life start out with, ‘Hold my drink and watch this?’" Lane asked. “And how many days does it take to review a videotape? You don't have to be Cecil B. Demille to dissect that film. Everybody can see it."
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper weighed in on the case on Tuesday.
“Those instances where someone puts the public at risk should have consequences,” Hickenlooper said. “At a certain point you have to call attention to it to make sure nobody else does it.”
The Denver Post reported that Agent Bishop was charged with one count of second-degree assault, according to a press release from the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
Thus far, the FBI has not released any information regarding its policy for agents carrying their weapons off-duty.
“In order to preserve the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment regarding this matter. The FBI will continue to fully cooperate with the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorney’s Office as this matter proceeds through the judicial process,” FBI Spokeswoman Amy Sanders told the Denver Post via email.
Watch video of the incident below: