An FBI agent trying to arrest a cocaine-dealing suspect at a home near Pittsburgh was killed Wednesday by the man's wife, who might have thought she was shooting an intruder, authorities said.
Agent Samuel Hicks was shot about 6 a.m. in the middle-class community of Indiana Township. The 33-year-old was taking part in a drug-ring roundup at the home of Robert Korbe, who was taken into custody on the drug charge.
Christina Korbe, 40, was charged with homicide. Her attorney, Sumner Parker, said his client was with her 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son when agents arrived and might have feared for their safety.
Korbe "ultimately called 911 to get local police to her house based on what she thought was happening," said Parker, adding that he is representing his client on state charges.
According to the criminal complaint for Christina Korbe, law enforcers arrived shortly after 6 a.m., announced themselves as police and saw a man running inside. Officers rammed the door and broke a window to enter.
Hicks entered first and turned left. A shot was fired, he yelled "I'm hit," and police dragged him outside and called 911.
Christina Korbe later told police she was standing at the top of the stairs and thought she shot an intruder. She called 911 and was arrested while on the phone. Korbe said she never heard police identify themselves.
Robert Korbe said he told his wife to stay upstairs while he went to the door. When he realized it was the police, he ran to the basement, dumped cocaine into a washtub, dressed and ran out the back door before he was arrested, the complaint said.
Christina Korbe was at Allegheny County police headquarters until Wednesday evening, when she was taken away on a stretcher crying with a white blanket over her head. She was put into an ambulance and taken to a hospital because she was feeling ill.
Her husband was one of 35 people charged in the 27-count indictment that accuses the defendants of conspiring to traffic cocaine and crack from October 2007 through September. Christina Korbe was not named in the indictment.
Robert Korbe appeared briefly in federal court Wednesday and was represented by a public defender but told the judge he planned to hire his own attorney.
He had told reporters at his home as he was being led into a police car that "they shot their own guy."
FBI agent William Crowley, an agency spokesman, said, "Based on the information we have right now, every indication is that no shot was fired by law enforcement at the crime scene."
Hicks had been with the FBI since March 2007. He was a former Baltimore police officer and school teacher with a wife and 3-year-old son.
"Special Agent Hicks made the ultimate sacrifice that any law enforcement officer makes for his country," Michael Rodriguez, agent in charge of the Pittsburgh FBI office, said in a statement read to reporters.
"He served with honor and bravery and will be greatly missed by his colleagues here in Pittsburgh and throughout the FBI," he said.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said: "The loss of Sam Hicks is a tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to Sam's family and the members of the Pittsburgh field office."
The last FBI special agent killed in the line of duty was Barry Lee Bush, who was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow agent outside a bank on April 5, 2007, in Readington, N.J., according to the FBI.
Bush, 52, of Forks Township, Pa., and other agents were in pursuit of three bank robbers who were armed but did not fire their weapons, authorities said.