Responding to the drug raid that ended in the death of FBI Agent Samuel Hicks that I wrote about earlier, this letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review gets the problems with the FBI’s tactics just about right:
Had the police not made the tactical decision to break down the Korbes’ front door, agent Hicks would still be alive.
The justification for this act by the FBI is that evidence was being destroyed by Mr. Korbe. It most certainly was, but the FBI probably had enough evidence against Korbe or they wouldn’t have been able to get the warrant for the raid. The house was surrounded, so eventually Korbe would have been taken into custody.
I don’t know Christina Korbe, who’s charged with shooting Hicks, but news coverage indicates that she has no criminal record and had a carry permit for the weapon allegedly used to kill Hicks.
It is inconceivable to me that the FBI would choose to forcibly enter a house before dawn, knowing, as they did, that young children likely were sleeping on the second floor. In my opinion, the trauma to the family in having their door broken down would justify waiting for Mr. Korbe to surrender.
Mrs. Korbe surely knows the people with whom her husband does “business.” It was probably why she had a carry permit.
However, I couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes. My house has the same floor plan as the Korbes’ and if I heard a commotion on my front porch at 6 a.m., I would be defending the front door from the second-floor landing also.
Mrs. Korbe said she didn’t know that the people on the front porch were police. That’s possible, especially when they began breaking into the house.
As soon as she fired a shot, she called 911 to report that she had shot an intruder. I’m not sure that I’d have defended my children any differently. A jury in her murder trial may see it that way also.
The real losers in this incident are the Hicks and Korbe children, whose lives will never be the same.
There is plenty of blame to lay at the feet of the Korbes, but this raid would have been a one-day story on the police blotter had the FBI not chosen to act with such bravado.
It contributed nothing to their goal that morning and cost a man his life. I’d like to see more police restraint when apprehending people who are not immediate threats to the public.