Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms:

Handling of Suspect Lead in Langley/CIA Headquarters Shooting Incident

OSI-94-11: Published: Apr 26, 1994. Publicly Released: May 11, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated allegations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) mishandled important information concerning a suspected gunman in the January 25, 1993 shooting outside the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

GAO found that: (1) BATF agents joined the investigative task force on January 26, 1993, and on January 27, 1993, began contacting gun dealerships to identify purchasers of the kinds of weapons that the gunman may have used; (2) a gun store owner reported to local police on January 27, 1993, that during a check of weapons purchase records, a BATF agent repeatedly ignored a store manager's and employee's identification of a composite of the alleged gunman; (3) the local police forwarded the alleged gunman's weapons purchase records to the investigative task force but did not advise the task force about the composite recognition; (4) the task force identified the alleged gunman as a suspect on February 6, 1993, and issued an arrest warrant on February 9, 1993; (5) the task force confirmed that the alleged gunman left the country on January 26, 1993; and (6) BATF noted that the gun store manager and employee identified the suspect only after public identification had been made, and believes that they fabricated the story because of media pressure and to protect themselves from liability.

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