TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — An FBI task force officer and longtime detective was fatally shot Wednesday in what officials called an ambush outside a federal building.
The gunman, identified by the U.S. Attorney’s office as Shane Meehan, waited outside the building before shooting Greg Ferency, a 30-year veteran of the Terre Haute Police Department, FBI agents said.
Ferency had walked outside shortly after Meehan arrived and threw a Molotov cocktail toward the building. Documents say Meehan then shot him. A special agent with the FBI ran out of the building next and “engaged in a gun battle” with Meehan, who was shot twice. Meehan got back inside his truck and drove away. Police found him being treated for his gunshot wounds at Vigo County Regional Hospital.
It’s unclear whether Ferency was targeted or if Meehan intended to harm law enforcement in general.
Meehan, 44, faces charges of murder of a federal agent, which carries a penalty up to life, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
“An attack on law enforcement is an attack on us all,” Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress said. “The selfless dedication exhibited by Detective Ferency throughout his career and his tragic death yesterday is yet another example of why we all owe our respect and gratitude to the members of law enforcement. On behalf of the Department of Justice I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Detective Ferency’s family and his many colleagues.”
Ferency was a beloved and respected member of the department, colleagues said during a news conference Thursday. He was the father of two adult children.
“You’ll never meet a finer person,” Police Chief Shawn Keen said. “He was an amazing person. I just can’t say that enough.”
The FBI will lead the investigation into the shooting, they said Wednesday. Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said an agent heard gunshots, intervened and shot the suspect, who is in custody at a hospital.
Keen said he knew Ferency for more than 20 years. The two were neighbors before the chief joined the police force, he said.
“There wasn’t anything he did that he didn’t put 100% into,” Keen said.
Ferency “was a valued member of our FBI family” since 2010, Keenan said.
Ferency was first assigned to the Safe Streets Task Force, which investigates gangs and violent crime, Keenan said. Ferency later worked on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
“They have to be kind of jack-of-all-trades here and work any federal crime that comes their way,” Keenan said of the Terre Haute task force officers.
Gov. Eric Holcomb called the incident a “tragic event” and “senseless” in a statement Wednesday.
“Our heart breaks for Detective Greg Ferency’s family, loved ones and those who served with him every day protecting the residents of the Wabash Valley,” Holcomb’s statement said.
About three years ago, Rob Pitts, a Terre Haute police officer for 16 years, died in the line of duty after being shot by a homicide suspect. Seven years before that, Terre Haute officer Brent Long was killed while serving an arrest warrant with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana FBI task force member fatally shot in ‘ambush’