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DEA agent killed in Tucson train gunfight IDed as Michael Garbo

2 other law enforcement officers shot; 1 suspect dead, 1 arrested after shoot-out on passenger train

A DEA agent shot and killed during a gunfight Monday morning in Downtown Tucson was identified as Group Supervisor Michael G. Garbo, a Sahuarita resident and 16-year veteran of the agency.

Garbo's identity was confirmed Tuesday by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.

Garbo was declared dead at the scene of the shooting aboard a train stopped at the Amtrak train station in Downtown Tucson. Two other law enforcement officers were wounded, and one suspect died during the incident. Another was arrested.

The identity of the arrested suspect, Devonte Okeith Mathis, was revealed in court documents. Federal criminal charges were filed against him Tuesday.

Court documents indicate that the officers boarded the train with a list of suspects, including Mathis and the suspect who died, and that the 22-year-old Mathis was carrying about 5 lbs. of marijuana and 50 packages of marijuana edibles.

Garbo joined the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, and "served honorably for more than 16 years as a special agent and group supervisor combating criminal drug traffickers from the Nogales corridor to Kabul, Afghanistan," Milgram said in a statement.

"Garbo’s operational expertise, mentorship, and leadership were legendary in the Tucson community," Milgram said. "With unparalleled talent and courage, he carried out duties ranging from tactical instruction to serving as a member of the Phoenix Field Division Special Response Team. Across DEA, Group Supervisor Garbo was universally loved and respected for his leadership, and for his unrelenting passion to protect the safety of the American people. Above all else, he was a devoted and loving father and husband. DEA mourns the loss of our beloved colleague."

Garbo previously worked with the Metro Nashville Police Department in Tennessee.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus confirmed the deaths Monday afternoon, telling reporters that the DEA agent died at the scene. One other DEA agent who was shot was hospitalized in critical condition, and a Tucson police officer who was also shot was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

Each of the wounded officers "suffered multiple gunshot wounds," Milgram said. One of the officers taken to the hospital was reportedly shot in the face, sources said.

DEA, Tucson police had list of suspects before boarding train

The shooting took place around 20 minutes after Amtrak's east-bound Sunset Limited 2 arrived in Tucson around 7:40 a.m. Magnus told reporters Monday afternoon that officers with the anti-drug task force routinely board trains and buses to search for narcotics.

Court documents indicate that the officers were specifically searching for the suspects on the train, following up on tips.

Officers with the regional Counter Narcotics Alliance task force boarded the train this morning, and "made contact" with two passengers who were on the second level of a double-decker train car, Magnus said.

According to court records, Garbo and the other officer boarded the train with a list of "several" people on the Sunset Limited, including Mathis and another man, identified only as D.T.

Federal agents and Tucson police officers, including a DEA agent identified only as J.C., "observed" D.T. and Mathis on the train, sitting in the same row, but on opposite sides of the aisle, police said in court records.

J.C. saw Mathis retrive a blue colored backpack, a black drawstring bag, and a white plastic bag, and he moved these bags a few rows away and then returned to his seat, court records showed.

The official "approached" Mathis, and asked him if those were his bags, which Mathis denied. "J.C. stated that he knows disassociation with baggage to be a common trait of drug traffickers," according to court documents. Mathis denied the bags were his, and J.C. took the bags off the train, and found two packages of bulk marijuana.

The two DEA agents, including Garbo and another agent identified only as S.F., spoke to D.T. and had a drug dog sniff several bags on the station's platform.

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At some point, D.T. got back onto the train. The agents boarded to find him, and as they approached him, he shot Garbo, killing him. He wounded J.C. the other special agent, "several times," according to court records.

During the incident, another officer, identified as D.H., was shot and injured as well.

While the DEA has identified Garbo, the agency has not identified the other agent, and Tucson Police have not identified the officer who was injured.

TPD officers arrived at the scene, and D.T. attempted to barricade himself in the train's bathroom after shooting at officers.

He was determined to be dead after Tucson's SWAT team boarded the train some time later.

Mathis carried 5 lbs of marijuana, 50 packages of edibles

A search warrant return indicates that Mathis was carrying about 5 pounds of marijuana, along with 50 packages of "Gooberz" marijuana edibles and other products.

Mathis was charged in federal court with possession and intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of a substance containing marijuana.

Magnus said Monday that several officers were conducting a "routine interdiction check.... checking for illegal guns, money, drugs" aboard the train. After the officers "made contact" with the pair on the second level, one of the suspects "produced a handgun and opened fire on the officers," he said.

In video captured from a streaming camera at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, next to the train station, around 8 a.m., there can be heard two quick shots, just before a law enforcement officer with a leashed dog who had been standing nearby quickly approached the train, entering a passenger car.

While two people stood just outside the train waiting, someone yelled "get out of here, get out of here," and another gunshot could be heard.

The officer, dressed in plainclothes and wearing a police vest, retreated from the train with his dog in tow, and headed for cover. Someone leaned out of a the doorway of the train car that the officer had just left, and apparently fired several more shots from a handgun in the direction of the officer and his dog, including one that loudly ricocheted off metal.

The suspect who fired his pistol "barricaded himself in the bathroom" on the lower level of the train car, Magnus said. After some time, "it was determined that the suspect in the bathroom was in fact deceased."

The DEA special agent who was wounded was "taken by TPD officers in the back of a patrol car" to Banner University Medical Center. The injured TPD officer was taken to the hospital by EMS workers, Magnus said.

Garbo's body was transported from the scene Monday afternoon by staffers with the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office, accompanied by a motorcade of TPD officers, riding motorcycles with flashing lights.

Tucson City Council offices were instructed to immediately lower their flags to half-staff Monday morning. Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags be flown at half-staff through sunset on Wednesday in memory of Garbo.

Magnus tweeted later that the shooting was "horrific" and that he is "so proud of our @Tucson_Police officers whose heroic actions undoubtedly saved many lives."

They "literally ran toward the danger," he told reporters.

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The police chief said MOnday there was "literally very limited information that I can share with you at this time," and that "I can't speak to anything that was found pertaining to" the suspect who was arrested.

The train was traveling from Los Angeles to New Orleans and arrived at Tucson at 7:40 a.m. carrying 137 passengers and 11 crew member, said an Amtrak spokesman. He said that there are no reported injuries to passengers and crew onboard the train, and everyone had been evacuated.

"The shooting that took place this morning at our downtown train station was an absolutely shocking act of violence," said Mayor Regina Romero on Monday. "I ask all Tucsonans to join me in praying for the deceased DEA officer and for the swift recovery of the law enforcement officers who were injured. I am ordering flags at all city facilities to half staff to honor the courageous actions of the deceased and the injured."

"My deepest sympathies go out to our federal partners at the Drug Enforcement Administration, who work side by side with our TPD officers on a daily basis to keep our community safe," Romero said. "I want to thank the Tucson Police Department, including our SWAT team, who immediately responded and secured the scene."

"We at the DEA are heartbroken by today's events and ask that you keep the families of the agents and task force officer in your thoughts and prayers," DEA Administrator Milgram said Monday afternoon.

The Counter Narcotics Alliance is a multi-agency task force, coordinated by the Tucson Police Department, that includes local, state and federal agencies, such as TPD, the Pima County Sheriff's Department, Marana Police Department, DEA, Border Patrol, BATF and others. The investigation of the incident is being led by the FBI.

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screenshot from Virtual Railfan streaming video

A police officer retreats from a gunman who fired several shots from an Amtrak train on Monday morning.

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