by Max Brantley
Mississippi County Prosecutor Scott Ellington has issued a report concluding that an FBI agent was justified in fatally shooting Brandon Fountain, 26, during a planned search of Fountain's Osceola home in the course of a child pornography investigation.
Fountain had picked up a weapon and Special Agent Ryan Barrett was justified in shooting Fountain to protect himself and a fellow law officer, Ellington said.
The victim's father had raised questions about the shooting Feb. 8. Ellington discussed the finding with the family yesterday.
Prosecutor Ellington also sent this letter to U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer setting out the statutory justifications for the shooting.
OSCEOLA, AR—Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington announced that Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Ryan Barrett was justified in using his service weapon to defend himself and another officer against Brandon Fountain on the afternoon of February 8, 2011 at Fountain’s home, 135A Cheryl Street, Osceola, resulting in Fountain’s death.
Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police along with officers representing the Kokomo, Indiana Police Department and Brownsburg, Indiana Police Department were in Osceola to investigate and locate the source and sender of child pornography that had originated in Osceola and been received in Bloomington, Indiana.
The investigation led to the residence of Brandon Fountain at 135A Cheryl Street. Officers questioned Fountain in his home, and when confronted with information identifying him as the person who sent email correspondence pertaining to child pornography to Bloomington, Indiana, he admitted to being in possession of more than one thousand images of child pornography and confessed to abusing “two or three” children belonging to “friends of friends.”
While officers were preparing paperwork for Fountain to sign consenting to the search of his computer, he asked to use the bathroom. Special Agent Barrett followed Fountain to the bathroom. Rather than going to the bathroom, Fountain ran to his bedroom and removed a .45 caliber pistol from the night stand.
The officer yelled at Fountain to stop and put his hands up, but Fountain made a turning motion toward Barrett and a second officer who had entered the room and Barrett fired two rounds into Fountain’s back.
“Special Agent Barrett was entirely justified in protecting himself and his fellow officers from Mr. Fountain and his pistol,” Prosecutor Ellington said. He went on to say, “I hope the Fountain family and all of the officers involved will soon heal from the trauma of February 8th.”
Further, Ellington said that the pistol removed from Fountain’s possession was loaded and ready to fire with a round in the chamber and full clip. Fountain was also carrying an extra clip which was loaded.
Some of the evidence recovered from Fountain’s residence on the date of the incident included 2 Apple IPhones, 4 cameras, multiple CDs and DVDs, wireless amplifier, 5 thumb drives, 14 flash drives, 7 hard drives, 2 DVD recorders, external hard drive, Compaq tower, and 3 wireless routers.
“The FBI and other task force members conducted themselves professionally in all ways as they were investigating the criminal activity that brought them to Osceola on February 8th.”
Prosecutor Ellington expressed his appreciation to the Arkansas State Police investigators for their prompt response and through investigation of the incident.
(NOTE: I asked Ellington about the contents of computer equipment seized. He said the FBI has that information and has not released it because the investigation is ongoing and has produced at least two arrests, one in Great Britain.)