Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2019

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FBI agent pays fine in shooting into hotel cooler

Sito Negron

An FBI agent who fired two rounds into a walk-in cooler at a Strip hotel in May has paid the Barbary Coast $12,517 for the damage and paid a $105 fine after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, authorities said.

John Hanson III still faces investigation by his agency, said Special Agent Todd Palmer, spokesman for the FBI Las Vegas office.

Police reports indicate that Hanson, who was in Las Vegas to attend an accounting seminar, was caught on surveillance cameras firing his .45-caliber handgun into the walk-in cooler. No one was inside at the time, although there was a lobster.

Hanson was charged only with a misdemeanor because of the late-night time of the incident, and the fact that the freezer was in a back area with no one inside, District Attorney David Roger said.

"The only victim in that case was a lobster, and Nevada statutes don't provide for attempted murder of a lobster," Roger said.

Roger said Hanson did not receive preferential treatment in court.

"I can tell you anybody else with the same record and same circumstances would have received the same deal," Roger said. "He pleaded straight up to the charge, made restitution and paid the fine."

After the shots, security officers at the hotel detained Hanson, recovered the shell casings and called police, who confiscated the gun. They then called supervisors to tell them an FBI agent was involved in the incident.

The weapon and a copy of the tape were given to another agent, who was in town for the same seminar as Hanson, the police report indicates.

According to the police report, Hanson said he did not remember firing his Glock handgun. Officers cited Hanson with a misdemeanor, discharging a firearm, and released him.

Hanson pleaded guilty to that count June 26 and paid his fine.

Hanson has been an instructor at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va., but Palmer said he could not say whether Hanson still was on duty. Disciplinary action against Hanson could range from leave without pay to firing.