Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Special Agent Mansel Burrell was shot and killed by drug traffickers while working an undercover heroin investigation in Gary.
At 8:30 pm, another agent and two Gary police officers observed Agent Burrell enter the suspect's apartment. About 45 minutes later, Agent Burrell left the premises in his vehicle with the suspect and a male subject following in their vehicle.
The other agent followed both vehicles, lost them in traffic but found Agent Burrell's car parked in an alley near the suspect's apartment 15 minutes later. After surveilling Agent Burrell's vehicle for two hours, the other subject was observed driving the vehicle away.
Within blocks, the car was stopped and while searching the subject, marked currency was found that had been carried by Agent Burrell. The suspect was arrested and taken to the Gary police station where he was interrogated for over four hours.
He told officers the other suspect shot Agent Burrell four times in the head in a wooded area of Gary, before dumping his body in Illinois. He directed officers to his body, found at 7:55 am, in a Bloom Township cornfield one half-mile south of U.S. 30 in Cook County.
The 55-year-old shooter pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 1981. The other man, a 34-year-old half brother to the shooter, was convicted of second-degree murder but on appeal his conviction was reversed.
Agent Burrell, the youngest federal narcotics agent to be killed in the line of duty, was assigned to the Chicago Division. He was survived by his parents, brother and sister.
The responsibilities of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics – U.S. Department of the Treasury (1930–1968) are now under the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration – U.S. Department of Justice.