TERRE HAUTE, Ind.–The person who is accused of shooting and killing Terre Haute Police Detective Greg Ferency about 2;15 Wednesday afternoon outside the FBI office in that city still has not been named by the FBI. Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said they will do that once he is charged.
The charges will be federal, he said.
“It’s an assault on a federal officer, resulting in death. It happened at our office. So, that was the decision made at the time to take this federally,” said Keenan, at a Thursday morning press conference. Keenan sat with Terre Haute Police Chief Shawn Keen and Mayor Duke Bennett, who has dealt with three cop killings in his city in his time as mayor.
LISTEN: Thursday press conference
Keenan described Ferency’s murder as an ambush, saying when an FBI agent inside the building heard the shots outside, he ran out and shot the suspect.
“The suspect subsequently left the scene and drove himself to the hospital where he underwent surgery for his wounds and he is currently in custody at the hospital,” said Keenan.
That suspect has not been able to give any comment on motive, due to his condition.
But, the FBI brought in agents who specialize in crime scene forensics and investigations to go over the suspect’s car, which was parked at the parking lot of Terre Haute Regional Hospital. It has since been moved.
Keenan described the betrayal of an officer being shot at a law enforcement building.
“We’re used to taking those types of risks as law enforcement officers when we’re conducting arrests, doing searches, etc.,” he said. “But, to have somebody come to our front door and commit this kind of act is a step beyond.”
Ferency was a father of two grown children and had been on the force for 30 years, serving for the last ten as a deputized Task Force officer, which Keenan said meant he essentially served as an FBI agent in the small Terre Haute office, a branch of the FBI field office in Indianapolis.
“He was first assigned to our Safe Streets Task Force, which is gangs and violent crime. Subsequent to that he was working our Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
Chief Keen said Ferency was known for being a teacher in the department.
“Whether it was about a meth lab or human trafficking, he would do everything possible to find out about that particular crime,” he said. “A few weeks ago he took part in a Zoom meeting with religious organizations about safety and security in places of worship and he brought his experience to that and helped with assessment and security.”
Mayor Bennett thanked people who have already shown their support.
“It’s such a heart-warming thing for me. I can’t thank the community enough and I’m sure they’ll continue to show that compassion and their support in the coming days. It’s so important for our officers to see that and experience that.”