NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly three weeks after a shootout behind a South Nashville restaurant, ATF Special Agent Adam Daniels remains hospitalized.
Mickey French, Special Agent in Charge of the Nashville Field Division, thinks highly of the 35-year-old. “Agent Daniels is just an outstanding person. He’s loved by everyone within ATF.”
On October 5, Daniels was involved in a shootout between the ATF and a federal drug suspect, Corey Wellman, who was out on parole even with an extensive criminal history.
“We’re going after the worst of the worst,” explained French.
He said the operation behind the Country Café on October 5 was mapped out and practiced. “Every person on that tactical plan has an assignment.”
As planned, surveillance footage shows a silver van filled with ATF agents approaching Wellman’s black SUV.
What wasn’t expected, almost simultaneously, the first shot is fired – apparently from inside Wellman’s vehicle.
“We don’t have a lot of these incidents where triggers are actually being pulled, but we are seeing a rise,” said French.
What follows is close to 40 rounds exchanged in just 30 seconds. “It’s a significant amount of rounds,” said French.
Wellman was fatally wounded in the exchange.
Meanwhile, Special Agent Daniels goes down near the rear of the SUV, severely injured.
News 2 asked French how the investigation unfolds in a situation like what happened earlier this month and if there is a concern of a friendly fire incident.
“Everything we do is a learning process. We’ll debrief all of our operations. It’s not necessarily to say someone did something wrong but it’s to say – hey, maybe next time let’s think about turning right instead of turning left. Because we were involved in the shooting, the FBI handled the investigation and they would have to handle those types of questions,” answered French.
Daniels’ injury remains a heavy burden for those on the team. “Each one of these agents is really close with their peers,” said French. “You’re continually questing did you do everything right.”
As the FBI continues their investigation into the shooting, the team rallies around each other and the Daniels family.
“Special Agent Daniels is progressing every day – getting better and better every day, which obviously makes ATF, his family, very happy,” French said.
French added that Daniels still has a long road to recovery.