Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FBI Agent Mistaken as Home Invader

ThePittsburghChannel.com reports on the killing of an FBI agent serving a warrant on a suspected drug suspect.

Special Agent Sam Hicks was shot to death on Woods Run Road in Indiana Township.

According to an affidavit obtained by WTAE Channel 4 Action News, police surrounded the house and announced themselves saying, "This is Pittsburgh police. We have a warrant for your arrest."

The affidavit indicated that Hicks, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, looked inside the house and saw a man running, at which point, authorities said Robert Korbe, 39, went to the basement to flush cocaine down the sink.

Christina Korbe said she got a gun and fired one shot down the steps, thinking it was a burglar coming in and not federal agents. The gunshot struck and killed Hicks.

Consistent with her claim not to have known it was the cops, after the shooting, Mrs. Korbe called 911. "Authorities took her into custody while she was on the phone." But, if she thought the first cop, FBI Agent Hicks was a home invader, why didn't she shoot the others who came to arrest her? That part sounds a little fishy to me.

On the other hand, the neighbor stated that she didn't know it was a warrant being served. She said the unmarked police cars came and left before the incident, and that there was no announcement that she could hear. This seems to support the story of the shooter.

Of interest is the gun, of course. I suppose it's not unusual for people to have guns in the house for protection, especially if they're in the drug business. But is that legal?

Robert Korbe's mother, Antoinette, told WTAE Channel 4 Action News that her son has been involved with drugs for years. She said he is a convicted felon and is not allowed to own a gun, but she said Christina Korbe does have a license to carry.

How common do you think that is? The criminal, who is a prohibited person, has the spouse get a concealed carry permit. It's like having a built in bodyguard in the family, and of course if things get ,the gun can always be shared. What about in the home? In the home of a convicted felon, the spouse who has a clean record can have all the guns she wants? This sounds like another loophole, what do you think?

What's your opinion? The action took place last November; the reason it's back in the news is there are some squabbles about the defense attorneys not being paid. They've petitioned the judge to let them go or name them court-appointed attorneys in order to receive at least some compensation.

It's certainly a fascinating case. What do you think?


  1. The increased use of "no-knock" warrants and unmarked or under marked police officers is the problem and it is happening more and more. Whatever happened to the days when the police had an informant or an undercover officer that would build a case against a drug dealer then arrest him on the street? It seems it is easier to dress some cops up as criminals (all black and ski masks) and send them in the dark of the night. It is no wonder this happens.

    As far as the spousal issues, of course it could vary from state to state, but the gist is that you cannot deny one spouse the right to bear arms because of the criminal record of the other spouse. That being said, the prohibited person is not to have access to the guns. The gray are that varies by local is defining what that access is. If the guns are in a safe and the prohibited person does not have a key or know the combination, then do they have access? Can the prohibited person be left at home alone with them? Determining exactly what is "access" is the question and where your "loophole" would lie with each state.

    Now this is only applies to a felon that has met their sentence. If the felon is on parole or probation, then that is a whole another situation. Probation officers can and usually do set the terms of parole that there be no firearms in the domicile at all. Most of these conditions are a condition of the parole itself and would not be a violation of the spouse's rights. The spouse would have the option of not allowing the parolee to live there which would probably also terminate the parole.

  2. A "loophole?" So her Constitutional rights should be null & void because her husband is a prohibited person?

    What's really sad is that an FBI agent died fighting a completely useless "War on Drugs" that we cannot ever win.

    1. I agree MikeW, that the war on drugs is a failure and disaster.

      But I also have a problem with the spouses of prohibited persons having firearms where it functions as a straw purchase, a means of gaining a firearm for the prohibited person.

      I would have no problem with the wife having a firearm, so long as it was secured so that the husband could not have access to it; preferably away from any shared premises.

      It does seem to be clear from the mother's statement that the wife was apparently privy to and therefore part of the use and possession of drugs on the premises. I am a bit skeptical for that reason of her pretext for shooting the FBI agent. I think her call to 911 was just cover for her actions.

      I do believe that gun rights should be restricted for these reasons when someone on parole or probation for certain kinds of felonies is living on the premises. We already have limitations on the correctional status of individuals living in public housing, so that would be a consideration for limiting straw purchase/ possession.

      Keep in mind the number of people in prison who admitted their source of firearms for the crime that put them behind bars was a family member or friend.

  3. It amazes me that people want to continue to put the blame on the police and FBI. FBI agent Hicks announced himself and the others. He even spoke with the husband through the door before they entered the house. It's the husbands fault for not opening the door in the first place. How can you put any blame on the cops. They knocked on the door, annouced that they were police and asked them to open the door. He did not, he choose to run to the basement and flush the drugs. HE'S a CRIMINAL. They did not go in the middle of the night and they did not have black ski masks on. They went at 6am, and what you all are forgetting is that dozens of other places were also raided that morning with no incident. Please, before you comment about this case, make sure you know what you are talking about!

  4. I was commenting about the increased militarization of our civilian police forces in general and not this case specifically. It seems every little podunk police department has a "SWAT" team now as does almost every state and federal agency.

    Why do these cops need to dress up like burglars? Why do they need silenced weapons?

    How many times have we seen news reports of cops getting killed or killing innocent people because they got the wrong house? What is wrong with knocking on the door? Or how about arresting someone when they leave the house?

    SWAT was designed to quickly mobilize and resolve a conflict in a dangerous situation like a hostage situation. Now they use SWAT for drug raids and even serving warrants where the urgency and danger were not there--at least before SWAT arrived that is.

  5. The gray are that varies by local is defining what that access is. If the guns are in a safe and the prohibited person does not have a key or know the combination, then do they have access? Can the prohibited person be left at home alone with them? Determining exactly what is "access" is the question and where your "loophole" would lie with each state.

    Exactly. The people with whom I live don't have any access to my guns. My guns are stored locked away anytime that I'm not home. They don't have "access" to my guns, unless you define having to pick and / or cut through locks as "access."

  6. "FBI agent Hicks announced himself and the others."

    Sadly, we live in a time where everyone who says they're a cop, isn't a cop. This is especially true among drug dealers.


  7. Aztec - Yup, I remember there were a spate of home invasions in Newark while I was in college. Criminals were announcing themselves as police in order to get people to open doors so they could force entry into apartments.

  8. But that does not give you the right to "blindly" fire a gun at someone. You just can't do that! It's so sad that a good man and father had to die. Let's not forget what really happened that day. The husband knew they were cops at the door, the wife knew the husband went to the door to check it out, then she fired a shot. In this sitution there is no one to blame but Chritina Korbe.

  9. Mike W., I remember when you told us at the Phoenix NRA convention you decided if you were going to drink alcohol, you wouldn't carry your gun. I was struck with how admirable and responsible that is as a personal gun policy. Now, I'm thinking the same thing about the way you secure your weapons at home. To me you're a great example of a responsible gun owner.

  10. MikeB,

    Now, I'm thinking the same thing about the way you secure your weapons at home. To me you're a great example of a responsible gun owner.

    Yet, this paragon of responsibility is also responsible for the crimes committed by thugs and slime.

    How do you reconcile the contradiction?

    I secure my weapons at home. I don't drink -- AT ALL -- while carrying. Am I responsible for the crimes committed by thugs and slime also?

  11. Know what's funny Mike? I had been using a cheap lockbox for my pistols.....but my gun safe came yesterday.

    Thanks, but I think not drinking while carrying is just common sense. It's perfectly legal for me to do so carrying here in DE (and when I CCW in PA)

    Locking up your guns is common sense too. I have family, and while I trust most of them (aside from my dad) that doesnt mean I trust anyone and everyone they might bring into the house.

    Excellent question bob. Think MikeB will answer it?

  12. Mike W., I hate to tell you, but while you were using that cheap lock box, you were a member of the famous 10%.

    ONLY KIDDING please have a sense of humor about that.

    About this case, I hear both arguments. 1. The cops identified themselves, the drug dealer AND his wife knew they were cops, and she shot one of them. And 2, in the confusion, she thought they were breaking in and didn't know they were cops and shot one of them. I think it was the second one. I'm thinking, she knows about guns, has the CCP, she's married to a career criminal, she'd have to be crazy to shoot at the cops. That's like asking for suicide. So I think she didn't know, which has to be a good defense in her trial.

  13. It truly amazes me that anyone can take her side in this...it's such crap to say she did not know. So answer me this, she claims her husband went to the door to check out the noise and then did not know where he went or what he was doing...how did she know he was not at the door anymore? And if she didn't know, why would she shoot towards the door knowing her husband could be standing there. Unless he told her he was going to the basement to flush the drugs or she could hear him talking to the cops and then heard him run for the basement. Come on people...trust me, once this goes to court you all will finally know the truth and will be able to put the blame where it belongs - on Christina Korbe - NOT the good men and woman of the police and certainly Special Agent Sam Hicks who lost his life.

  14. Anonymous, Thanks for the comment. I think it may have been a confusing moment inside that house. I agree it's hard to believe she didn't know, but it's hard to believe she did know and shot at one of them. That's asking for suicide by cop.

  15. So here ya have someone licensed to carry! Committed murder so now anti gun groups will say ban all guns! but we all know a police officer has never committed a murder with his gun right! But no one is trying to take guns away from the police! What she did was deliberate. She knew what she was doing. its know different than running someone over with your car! But know one is lobbying to ban Cars!

  16. Gene, thanks for stopping by to comment, but please stop putting words in our mouth. No one I know of is saying "ban all guns."