Acting on a tip, the officials descended on the home, in the process narrowly evading several animal snares left nearby a seemingly abandoned minivan and an upturned hot tub designed to roll over any trespassers who fell foul of a concealed tripwire. However, upon entering the property, the FBI special agent attempted to move a wheelchair blocking the door — triggering an unseen shotgun blast, which automatically opened fire.
"I'm hit!" the federal employee shrieked, "significant" amounts of blood pulsing from a large wound on his leg — and the investigatory contingent was duly sent scurrying. The agent ended up in a nearby hospital — and the property's owner, Gregory Lee Rodvelt, is likely to end up in jail for assaulting a federal officer.
And in case you were looking for a photo of Gregory Rodvelt, whose booby-trapped wheelchair shot an an FBI agent in southern Oregon & who turned a hot tub and rat trap into a potentially deadly weapons, here you are. https://t.co/LvtIMk0Chr pic.twitter.com/WHdTEuEC92— Shane D. Kavanaugh (@shanedkavanaugh) October 2, 2018
Authorities had been alerted to the property by the Jackson County Justice and a local real estate lawyer, who'd been appointed to sell the home to settle a US$2.1 million judgment in an elder abuse case against Rodvelt, and upon inspecting the area found a sign warning the property "was protected by improvised devices". The case was brought by Rodvelt's 90-year-old mother.
An armed standoff between Rodvelt and police outside Phoenix, Arizona landed him in jail in 2017, but he was released from custody for a fortnight mid-August to tie up loose ends and prepare to turn over his property.Instead, he evidently used the time to rig the property extensively with potentially lethal traps, which federal officials liken to "a scene from the movie Indiana Jones — Raiders of the Lost Ark". Subsequent searches revealed yet more deadly booby traps — spike strips at the bottom of the driveway, a rat trap rigged to fire a shotgun round if someone tried to open the garage door, and more.
In court, Rodvelt's neighbors have described hearing the sound of hammering and metal grinding throughout the night while the felon crafted his intricate web of hazard. A private investigator has also recalled losing multiple tires to the hidden spike strips in August.
In the weeks since the wheelchair incident, private contractors consisting of former military experts have inspected the property inside and out and discovered nothing more — a potentially reassuring development, although the presiding judge has acknowledged the full extent of the booby traps may never be known.Rodvelt's contraptions all appear to have been focused on preventing entry, so four visits on the property appear to be another positive sign, but Charter said they may never know for sure whether they found everything.