United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
SUZAN EVANS, Individually, and as Wife and Next of kin of SCOTT EVANS, deceased, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendants.
Suzan Evans brings this civil action pursuant to the Federal
Torts Claims Act (FTCA) for the wrongful death of her husband
Scott Evans during the execution of search and arrest
warrants by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Statement of Facts
an investigation into distribution of child pornography, a
criminal complaint, arrest, and search warrants were issued
for Scott Evans on March 4, 2013. Special Agent (SA) Bianca
Pearson worked on a plan to arrest Evans at his residence at
2332 Stapleton Road in New Market, Tennessee. SA Pearson was
concerned about recent cases involving child pornography
suspects who shot themselves or fired at officers and wanted
to ensure enough agents were on hand to control the area
surrounding the residence when the arrest warrant was
executed. SA Pearson and SA Gregory Smith led a pre-briefing
on March 5, 2013, for agents participating in the arrest. SA
Pearson reviewed the FBI's deadly force policy, and
advised agents that, while Evans had no criminal history, he
had a concealed weapon permit and likely would have weapons
at the residence. She also explained that Evans' 15-year
old and 7-year old daughters could be home during the arrest.
second briefing occurred at a market near the Evans home
early on March 6, 2013. Local law enforcement officers
supporting the FBI operation were present. SA Pearson again
covered the FBI's deadly force policy and reiterated that
the Evans children likely would be home. Following the
briefing, the team set out to execute the arrest and search
arrest team traveled to the Evans' residence in a caravan
of vehicles, arriving after 7:00 a.m. Members of the arrest
team wore clothing identifying them as law enforcement.
Officers in marked police vehicles turned on their blue
lights when approaching the residence, which was a trailer.
FBI team members walked to the Evans' trailer with
weapons drawn, and lined up at the front door.
Casey Helm announced the FBI's presence by knocking and
shouting words to the effect of “FBI! Search Warrant!
Come to the door!” After several seconds without a
response, SA Jeffrey Blanton struck the door with a breaching
tool, forcing it open a few inches. SA Smith then kicked the
Smith and SA Helm entered first and encountered Suzan Evans
and her daughters. SA Smith ordered Mrs. Evans to get down on
the floor and she complied. SA Lane Rushing and SA Paul
Scrown entered next and headed toward a bedroom on the left.
SA Letitia Jones told Mrs. Evans that the FBI had a warrant,
asked where Mr. Evans was, and asked if there were guns in
the house. Mrs. Evans told her there was a gun in the bedroom
where agents had gone. SA Jones tried to get the two girls
down as low to the floor as possible. SA Jones stated there
was a TV on and that it was loud in the house. SA Pearson was
in the family room with Mrs. Evans and the children. She
recalled hearing a great deal of shouting inside the house.
Rushing entered the bedroom first, followed by SA Scrown. SA
Rushing observed Mr. Evans, who was nude, move quickly from a
bathroom into the bedroom, and move up onto the bed. SA
Rushing shouted “FBI! FBI!” and Evans raised his
right hand, which held a gun inside a holster. Mr. Evans
pointed the gun at his head and lowered himself down from the
bed and appeared to be on his knees. SA Rushing yelled
“FBI, get your hands up!” and “Drop the
gun!” Evans did not comply with the agent's orders
to drop the gun. At one point Evans told SA Rushing,
“Get out of my face.” SA Rushing thought Evans
might commit suicide or threaten the agents, and he yelled
“Don't do this!”
Bishop, Helm, and Smith rushed to the bedroom and observed
Evans crouching and pointing the holstered gun at his head
while SAs Rushing and Scrown told him to drop the gun. SA
Bishop considered lunging over the bed and attempting to
subdue Evans. He stepped closer to the bed and Evans turned
to face him, and SA Bishop moved back. Evans turned back to
SAs Rushing and Scrown, raising his hand. SAs Rushing and
Scrown repeatedly commanded Evans to drop the gun and comply
with the arrest. SA Bishop considered firing his weapon at
that point but he did not have a good angle to shoot Evans.
SA Smith made a motion across the bed intending to tackle
Evans, but Evans looked in his direction, and SA Smith
abandoned the idea as too risky because Evans was holding a
gun. He moved back, and Evans returned his attention to SAs
Scrown and Rushing.
Rushing saw a flash or reflection of light coming from the
holster. SA Smith saw the gun emerge from the holster and
noted it was a large caliber revolver. SAs Helm, Bishop, and
Rushing saw Evans move his left hand in a manner consistent
with unholstering the gun. SA Scrown stated he saw a glint of
metal as Evans removed the gun from its holster using his
left hand and SA Scrown fired his rifle three times, striking
Evans in the side of his torso.
fell forward. None of the agents could see his hands or the
gun. Agents approached and saw that Evans held his handgun,
now out of its holster. SA Scrown stepped on Evans' hand
and the gun; SA Bishop grabbed the gun and moved it away from
Evans. SAs Bishop and Blanton handcuffed Evans and SA Smith
called for officers stationed outside to call an ambulance.
Evans died at the scene.
Evans states she heard a loud banging on the front door. She
looked through the peephole while unlocking the deadbolt. She
saw people dressed in black with no markings on their
clothes. Agents “smashed” in her door, breaking
her nose, and knocking her back about five feet. None of the
agents identified themselves or showed her a warrant. She was
thrown face-down on the floor and handcuffed. She heard no
shouting, talking, commands, or anything from the bedroom
until she heard the gunshots. Evans' two daughters state
they did not hear anyone say or shout anything in the bedroom
prior to hearing the gunshots.
later obtained a second search warrant authorizing a search
of the trailer for evidence relating to the shooting. The
search recovered Evans' Ruger handgun which was cocked
and loaded. Additional weapons were also recovered from the
March 14, 2013, District Attorney General James Dunn of the
Fourth Judicial District of Tennessee declined prosecution,
stating SA Scrown's actions were justified. On April 9,
2013, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division
notified the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office
there was no evidence to support an ...