ATF agent wounded, 1 suspect killed, another charged in Athens

A federal agent was in critical but stable condition Tuesday night and a suspect was dead after a shooting during an undercover law enforcement operation in Athens. A second suspect has been charged in the case.

State and federal officials told reporters an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent was in the intensive care unit at an area hospital recovering from his wounds.

They identified the dead man as 20-year-old Javonta Darden. The other suspect, 21-year-old Steven McKinley, was arrested.

McKinley was booked into the Athens-Clarke County jail early Wednesday and charged with murder and aggravated assault, according to the jail’s website. He is being held without bond.

The shooting was around 5 p.m. Tuesday during a joint drug operation involving ATF and Athens-Clarke County police at a mobile home park on Winterville Road.

According to the preliminary investigation, one of the two men fired on the ATF agent, whose name was not released, and the agent shot back, said Sherry Lang, spokeswoman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Carlton Peeples, FBI supervisory special agent, declined to say if there were any other suspects tied to the undercover investigation.

“Right now it’s the preliminary investigation and we won’t go into those facts at this point,” Peeples told reporters.

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