NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An active scene remained intact in South Nashville, more than 24 hours after an ATF agent was shot and seriously hurt in a shootout during a drug enforcement operation on Murfreesboro Pike.
The FBI has not yet released the agent’s name who is still recovering at Vanderbilt, but we know the suspect felon Corey Wellman was shot and killed during the operation.
A number of agencies including Metro Police, TBI and FBI agents remained on the scene Wednesday, while the suspect’s SUV and ATF’s bullet riddled van remained in the same spot behind the Country Café restaurant, which is across the street from Metro police headquarters.
Bullets flew just after 2 O’clock Tuesday behind the restaurant in the busy shopping strip that houses about a half dozen businesses.
“I heard probably dozens, probably at least 20, 25 shots, dozens. It was so fast, but it seemed to be a lot,” Ramon Arellano owner of S & J Auto across the street explained.
Arellano was among many that had to take cover Tuesday.
“I ducked and kind of took cover. It happened so fast, but my reaction was to kind of look, see what was going on and then just take cover kind of.”
Surveillance footage from outside of Madina Restaurant captured the deadly encounter. The footage showing the intense moments that a silver van filled with ATF agents approached Wellman’s black SUV and a gunfight erupted. Bullets are seen ricocheting off the vehicle windshields, as smoke billows from the guns.
Radio traffic captured what unfolded next as an ATF agent is hit.
“We’ve got an ATF agent shot, he’s on his way to Vanderbilt. Can you alert ER? I don’t know a condition code. It’s approximately a 30-year-old male,” played on the recording, “The suspect is also shot.”
That scene across from Metro Police headquarters and outside of S & J Auto’s doors was a realization for Arellano as to just how fortunate he is.
“Very, very dangerous. After everything happened you think about how dangerous it could have been. Good thing that nobody, these people around these businesses didn’t get hurt,” he explained.
A business owner said the FBI hopes to release the crime scene at noon Thursday and allow businesses to reopen at that time.
A federal complaint and arrest warrant showed Wellman sold an ounce of heroin to an ATF confidential informant on June 30th of this year. A purchase coordinated through Wellman’s Instagram account.
However, Wellman’s criminal history runs much deeper. The convicted felon was still serving parole for a 2006 cocaine-related offense, according to Metro Police.
Davidson County court records show a long history of priors including voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and more drug possession.
News 2 also learned Wellman was interviewed in 2010 by Metro cold case detectives in relation to the murder of Leroy McDougal in East Nashville in 2006 – an investigation that is still open.