Last week, a number of videos emerged on social media showing an off-duty FBI agent dancing in Denver nightclub, punctuated with an impressively executed backflip and stomach wrenching display of poor weapons handling when his pistol fell from its friction retention holster onto the floor. To make matters worse, as the agent hurried to regain control of his weapon, he pulled the trigger, firing a round into the crowd and hitting a nearby onlooker. After firing the round, the agent in question appeared dismissive of the incident, raising his hands in a “whoops” gesture before walking off into the crown with seemingly no concern for the man he’d shot.
The agent, 29-year-old Chase Bishop, has now been charged with one count of second-degree assault for the incident, according to Denver District Attorney’s office. The delay in filing charges, the office explained, was pending the results of a drug and alcohol screening, in order to ascertain whether or not additional charges were to follow. However, the D.A. has now chosen to move forward with charges nonetheless.
“We are filing this charge now rather than waiting until the [blood alcohol content] report is received, which we understand could take another week, because sufficient evidence has been presented to file it,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in the statement. “If an additional charge needs to be filed after further evidence is received, we can file those charges then.”
According to Bishop’s LinkedIn profile that has since been taken down, he graduated from Liberty University with a degree in aviation and airway management and operations before serving in the United States Army as an intelligence officer. Among the roles he served in, Bishop was assigned the billet of “base manager” from March to November of 2013, which, per his description meant he was “In charge of and responsible for safety, security, maintenance, and logistical operations of a military compound. The go to leader for problem solving and continuously staying flexible and composed during emergencies.”
His professional resume actually leaned heavily on his military service and propensity for safety, describing his position as an intelligence officer with the following list of highlights: “Built safety measures and procedures for two military bases by closely analyzing safety standards and security vulnerabilities,” and “Built, briefed, and distributed an intelligence summary daily pertaining to world events and threat analysis.”
Thomas Reddington, the man who was hit by Bishop’s stray round, hired an attorney who claims that the bullet hit a “main artery” and that he would have died if another bystander hadn’t quickly applied a tourniquet — which if true makes Bishop’s dismissive smile as he walks away after firing into the crowd seem that much less professional. Reddington told GMA,
We sat down at one of those picnic tables — I heard a loud bang and I thought some idiot set off a firecracker. Then I looked down at my leg and see some brown residue … I’m still thinking it’s a firework … all of a sudden from the knee down my leg became completely red. And that’s when it clicked in my head, ‘Oh, I’ve been shot.'”
The bar the shooting occurred in, Mile High Spirits released a statement soon after the incident took place:
It is shocking that the only shooting to ever occur at our establishment came about as a result of an FBI agent entering our distillery tasting room carrying a loaded firearm without our knowledge, in violation of our rules.”
They went on to offer Reddington free drinks for life.
FBI agents, like other law enforcement officials, are lawfully permitted to carry concealed firearms into places like bars despite signs barring them on the premises, but only under the assertion that these agents are effectively always on duty. While most agencies don’t bar agents or officers from having a few drinks, getting intoxicated while armed in public is often a violation of both regulation and local ordinances.
Bishop may well face further charges based on the results of his toxicology report, and in any regard, will likely face further disciplinary action from the FBI.
See the incident in the video below:
Image courtesy of the Denver Police Department