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IRS agent kills co-worker

US legislation passed last year called for 80,000 new tax agents who could wield police-level firepower

An agent with the US Internal Revenue Service accidentally shot and killed a colleague during a training exercise at a federal gun range in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, local media reported. 

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division’s (CID) Phoenix Field Office confirmed to reporters that an “incident” had taken place at the range, which is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and was being use by multiple federal agencies when the shooting happened. 

IRS representative Charlotte Dennis declined to reveal the names of those involved, stating only that the incident involved a special agent and that the victim had died at HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center.


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The Internal Revenue Service headquarters building in Washington, DC, April 27, 2020 © AFP / Chip Somodevilla
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The FBI’s field office in Phoenix is investigating the shooting, with the results to be turned over to the District Attorney for Arizona for review and potential charges, according to a statement from the agency emailed to local news outlet AZFamily. 

The unnamed special agent is the first IRS CID employee to be shot in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks line-of-duty deaths in law enforcement. IRS CID agents are sworn law enforcement officers and receive firearms instruction as part of their training.

Controversial legislation passed in 2021 handed the IRS nearly $80 billion in funding to hire as many as 87,000 new agents over 10 years, which would more than double its current size. An effort to repeal the measure passed the Republican-dominated House earlier this year after representatives raised the specter of a marauding army of armed accountants, but is unlikely to become law, given its support among the ruling Democratic Party.


Defenders of the measure have pointed out some of the money is earmarked for non-hiring expenses and some of the hires merely replace retiring or soon-to-retire agents, while other new hires will merely work phones and perform typical accounting tasks. 

However, an IRS CID job posting that has since gone viral called for new recruits to “be willing to use deadly force” and face “life-threatening situations,” and the agency used more than half a million dollars of its 2021 windfall to buy as much ammunition in three months as it usually does in a year. 

While the Biden administration promised no one with an annual salary under $400,000 would be audited by the IRS’ new stormtroopers, legislation that would have made that promise legally binding by protecting “low- and middle-income earning American taxpayers from an onslaught of audits from an army of new Internal Revenue Service auditors funded by an unprecedented….infusion of new funds” did not pass.

August 19, 2023 at 03:54AM


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