The FBI is investigating after a wanted fugitive from Maryland died following a shooting involving agents in the Knoxville area Monday evening.
According to the FBI's Knoxville Field Office, Roy McGrath, 53, suffered wounds during an arrest. It is unclear who wounded McGrath. McGrath was taken to the hospital with wounds where he later died. McGrath's attorney, Joseph Murtha, later said McGrath died from his wounds.
"It is a tragic ending to the past three weeks of uncertainty. It is important for me to stress that Roy never wavered about his innocence,” Murtha said.
The FBI said the shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. Specific details have not been released. "The review will carefully examine the circumstances of the shooting, and collect all relevant evidence from the scene. As the review remains ongoing, I cannot further comment at this time, only to comment Mr. McGrath was transported to the hospital last evening and succumbed to his injuries," FBI Knoxville spokesperson Darrell DeBusk said.
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McGrath had been a wanted fugitive since he disappeared in March, missing a court date for an eight-count federal indictment. In that case, McGrath faced charges including wire fraud, allegedly securing a $233,648 severance payment equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service. He also faced fraud and embezzlement charges.
McGrath was the former chief of staff for former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Hogan denied approving the severance, and McGrath resigned in August 2020.
The U.S. Marshals Service said McGrath was wanted for wire fraud among other charges after a federal grand jury indicted him on Oct. 5, 2021. In June 2022, a federal grand jury also indicted him for falsification of records.
This has all been a very weird episode. It's likely that the FBI's story about the fraud is true, but it is the FBI, and it was aimed at a Republican, so a bit of skepticism is warranted. A WaPoo article has more: Former Hogan chief of staff Roy McGrath dies after confrontation with FBI.
McGrath has maintained that Hogan approved it. But the governor, who has cooperated with law enforcement and has not been accused of any crime, has repeatedly denied knowledge of it.
“I know you did nothing wrong. I know it is unfair. I will stand with you,” Hogan wrote to his former aide in an undated message after it was publicly revealed that McGrath received the payment. McGrath has said he resigned from the chief of staff job, which he held for less than three months, because of the governor’s pledge to stand by him.
Michael Ricci, a former spokesman for Hogan, who left office in January, has said the governor sent the message before learning more details about how the severance package was obtained. Prosecutors say McGrath falsified a memo in which he said Hogan approved the severance.
He also doesn't strike me a man stupid enough to try and shoot it out with the FBI.