The dancing FBI agent who dropped his gun from a waistband holster while doing a backflip and then shot a man while trying to pick the firearm up has been identified as 29-year-old Chase Bishop, KMGH-TV reports. The victim, Thomas Reddington, was shot in the leg and is recovering.
Bishop was arrested June 12, more than a week after the incident, and is being held after Denver Police issued a warrant for second-degree assault, online records show. The Denver County District Attorney’s office said he has not been formally charged yet. Bishop, who lives in Virginia, returned to Denver when he learned of the warrant to turn himself in. He was booked into the Downtown Detention Center in Denver on $1,000 bail. He was scheduled to appear in Denver County Court on Tuesday. Second-degree assault is a felony that carries a potential sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison, according to Colorado law.
Video of Bishop’s dance moves and negligent discharge of his gun went viral on social media this week after the early Saturday morning incident at the Mile High Spirits Distillery and Tasting Bar in Denver, Colorado. He was questioned after the incident, but released to an FBI supervisor. “The incident is being investigated by the Denver Police Homicide Unit and charges will be determined by the Denver District Attorney’s Office,” the Denver Police Department said in a statement. The FBI has not commented because of the ongoing investigation. Denver Police said the victim was shot in the leg and was in “good condition” and is recovering.
Here’s what you need to know about Chase Bishop:
1. The Video Shows the FBI Agent Firing the Gun, Putting It Back in His Waistband & Walking Off With His Hands in the Air While Smirking
The video shows the agent dancing with a large crowd surrounding him at the bar. After about 8 seconds of dancing, he does a backflip, and when he does, a black handgun falls from his waistband holster and to the ground of the bar. He then reaches down to pick it up and the gun fires toward the people watching him. Someone can be heard saying, “what the f*ck, he had a gun.” The FBI agent then doesn’t go to check whether anyone was hit, instead putting the gun back into his waistband, covering it with his shirt. He then walks off into the crowd, lifting his hands up in the air as if apologizing or saying he didn’t mean to. It’s not clear if the agent knew anyone had been wounded.
Police said they responded about 12:45 a.m. Saturday to the Mile High Spirits Distillery and Tasting Bar for an accidental shooting. “The incident is being investigated by the Denver Police Homicide Unit and charges will be determined by the Denver District Attorney’s Office,” the Denver Police Department said in a statement. The FBI has not commented about the incident because of the ongoing investigation. It is not clear if the FBI agent had been drinking. Investigators are waiting for results from blood tests to determine if alcohol was a factor, a law enforcement source told CBS Denver.
Another video shows the shooting from a different angle:
Thomas Reddington, the victim, was interviewed by ABC News’ Good Morning America, last week. Reddington said he initially thought the sound and his wound was caused when “some idiot set off a firecracker.” He said he later realized what actually happened and said he was “confused” by the incident.
“We sat down at one of those picnic tables — I heard a loud bang and I thought some idiot set off a firecracker,” Reddington told GMA. “Then I looked down at my leg and see some brown residue … I’m still thinking it’s a firework … all of a sudden from the knee down my leg became completely red. And that’s when it clicked in my head, ‘Oh, I’ve been shot.'”
He told GMA, “I like stand up and like start walking in a little circle saying, ‘Hey, I think I’ve been shot. Can someone call 911?'” Reddington said he then blacked out and fell to the ground or sat down, while a good Samaritan used a belt as a tourniquet on his bleeding leg. He said he lost a lot of blood. “I soaked through several blankets, several towels, a few gauze pads,” he said.
Julie, a witness who recorded one of the videos and asked only to be identified by her first name, told KDVR-TV she smelled gun powder and saw a person bleeding after the incident. She told the news station, “Everyone was kind of shocked after it happened because [the agent] kind of put his gun back away and then he walked away.” She said she asked the DJ to turn off the music. It initially stopped, but then the DJ started playing again.
“No one really knew what was going on,” Julie told the news station. “I was shocked. I honestly just wanted to make sure that my friends … [that] I knew where they were.”
Vain, a patron of Mile High Spirits, told CBS Denver, “You cannot carry if you are in a bar or establishment and have been drinking. So, that’s something, if there was alcohol involved and it was a law enforcement agent, I think that he probably knew better to not be doing that.”
Cara Chancellor told CBS Denver, “I go out to have a good time and dance with friends and someone gets shot five feet from me? It was surprising and it was shocking. When the paramedics came they flooded the place, shooed us out, turned off the music… people were crying.”
2. He Was in Denver for Training & Will Likely Also Face FBI Discipline Along With the Criminal Charge
Police and the local district attorney’s office have been investigating hte incident. According to Denver 7 reporter Meghan Lopez, sources told her that Bishop was in Denver for training and has since left town. He is based in the Washington D.C. area, she reports. The Denver district attorney’s office is planning on sending investigators to D.C. to interview Bishop, and that could take place as soon as Tuesday, Lopez reports.
ABC News reports that investigators are waiting for toxicology reports to determine if Bishop was drinking before the incident. Those results could determine what charge or charges Bishop will face or will not face. Denver Police told the network, “possible charges regarding the incident are pending laboratory results taken from the subject, to determine if alcohol was a factor, and forensic evidence.”
Bob Pence, a retired FBI agent who was the Agent-in-Charge of the Denver field office, told Denver 7 that FBI agents are “considered on-duty 24 hours a day,” and were therefore permitted to carry their weapons everywhere. Pence told the news network that agents “should not drink excessively.”
Joe Deedon, owner of TAC One Law Enforcement Consulting in Denver, told the news station that law enforcement officers are permitted to conceal carry firearms in bars, even if signs are posted prohibiting the practice, but he said they should not be drinking in those situations. “It falls under prohibited use of a weapon,” Deedon said. “You don’t have to show the same signs of say being intoxicated while driving a vehicle on a DUI. If you’re just a little impaired, even if not legally intoxicated, you could face a misdemeanor charge. The way the statute is written – it’s open to interpretation. We don’t even have to take blood or urine samples,” Deedon said.
A source told Denver 7 that Bishop, “will be held accountable” by the FBI. A source told 9News that Bishop will be suspended without pay for three days at a minimum.
3. He Is a Tennessee Native & Graduated From Liberty University
Chase Bishop was born in Tennessee, according to public records. Bishop attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virgnia. Liberty is a private Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell. According to his now-deleted Linkedin profile, Bishop graduated from Liberty University in 2011 with a degree in aviation and airway management and operations.
Bishop could not be reached for comment and it is not clear if he has hired an attorney.
Along with the criminal charge, Bishop could also be facing a civil lawsuit from the victim of the shooting. According to local news reports, the FBI has not provided Bishop an attorney for help with both criminal and civil issues that could arise from this case. The attorney for the victim told KUSA-TV his client “was shocked when he realized that he had been shot.” But it is not yet clear if he plans to bring a lawsuit against Bishop.
Thomas Reddington, the victim, told ABC News he wants a private conversation with Bishop to clear the air, but has retained a lawyer to represent him. “I don’t want to blame anybody, throw anybody under the truck,” Reddington said. “It’s bizarre. It’s beyond bizarre. It’s beyond comprehension I think right now for me just with all the factors involved. It’s gone from being confused as to what happened. Being confused to what’s going to happen. Being confused as to what’s happening to me, where I am. There’s been phases, but almost all of them have mainly just been shock, just various types of shock.”
4. Bishop Served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer Prior to Joining the FBI
After graduating from Liberty University, Chase Bishop served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer, according to his now-deleted Linkedin profile. Bishop was stationed in Savannah, Georgia, at the Hunter Army Airfield and focused on cyber crime and cyber conflict research. He served in the Army from at least November 2011 to November 2015. From November 2013 to November 2015, he was also an aircraft safety officer, managing a team of seven focused on “aircraft and personnel safety for over 200 pilots and 30 aircraft.” He was previously a base manager from March 2013 to November 2013, a role in which he was “In charge of and responsible for safety, security, maintenance, and logistical operations of a military compound. The go to leader for problem solving and continuously staying flexible and composed during emergencies.”
Bishop began his military career as an intelligence officer in Savannah from 2011 to 2013. In that role, Bishop, “Built safety measures and procedures for two military bases by closely analyzing safety standards and security vulnerabilities,” and “Built, briefed, and distributed an intelligence summary daily pertaining to world events and threat analysis,” along with other responsibilities.
In a resume posted online, Bishop describes himself as, “A goal-oriented, innovative intelligence and safety manager seeking to secure a position with a well-established organization and exercise my skills, abilities, and expertise as an analytical, self motivated leader.”
It is not clear when Bishop began working at the FBI or what his role with the agency is. According to KMGH-TV, Bishop is based in the Washington D.C. area. Online records show he lives in Virginia.
5. Mile High Spirits Say It Will Give ‘Complimentary Drinks Forever’ to the Man Who Was Shot by Bishop
Mile High Spirits, where the shooting happened, has issued a statement saying it will give free drinks for life to the victim, who has not been identified. Police have asked anyone who was there that night and witnessed what happened to contact them.
“At Mile High Spirits, we pride ourselves on being a craft distillery with high quality products and an engaging customer experience, in a fun and safe atmosphere. It is shocking that the only shooting to ever occur at our establishment came about as a result of an FBI agent entering our distillery tasting room carrying a loaded firearm without our knowledge, in violation of our rules. As a result of his misconduct, one of our innocent patrons was shot,” the distillery said in its statement. “Our security team was able to execute a catastrophic event plan, ensuring, safe exit of all patrons in the establishment after the shooting. We are deeply saddened by the events that occurred and look forward to speaking with representatives of the FBI, so we can come to understand his presence and his need to be armed in our establishment.”
The statement added, “The whole team at Mile High Spirits is praying for the victim’s quick recovery, and he’s welcome at Mile High Spirits to enjoy complimentary drinks forever.”
The victim, Thomas Reddington, who recently moved from Chicago to Denver and works at Amazon in fulfillment, packaging boxes and loading trucks, told ABC News he is feeling better. “I just want to heal,” he said while putting ice packs on his wounded leg. “I just want to be able to walk.”
The distillery, which makes its own bourbon whiskey, tequila and gin, says on its website, Mile High Spirits says, “Visit our tasting room for weekday happy hour, watching a great live band or our DJ-fueled weekend dance parties. Whether you want to try samples of our famous infusions, a special cocktail crafted by our expert bartenders or a simple drink after work, we want you to have a good time. Just like you, we bust our asses at work…but we like to party our asses off at night (and some Sunday afternoons!) At MHS, we’re serious about two things: making premium spirits and not being snobs about drinking them. You’re here to have fun!”
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