Tennessee family still demanding answers weeks after FBI killed disabled veteran in early morning raid

September 1, 2023
Ben Marquis

On August 16, a team of FBI agents conducted a pre-dawn raid on a home in Henderson, Tennessee, and ultimately shot and killed the disabled veteran who lived there.

That man's family, including his elderly mother who lived with him and was present during the raid, are demanding an explanation for what occurred after the FBI has steadfastly refused to answer any of their questions, Fox News reported.

Aside from a perfunctory statement issued after the fact about investigating an "agent-involved shooting," the FBI has said nothing else with respect to the unexplained death of 45-year-old Theodore "Teddy" Deschler during the early morning raid.

Fatal pre-dawn FBI raid in Tennessee

In a report from local media outlet WBBJ on the day of the FBI raid, neighbor Alex Morris recalled, "I was woken up at about six o’clock this morning. I heard a loud bang. Then I heard a couple more. I heard the loudspeakers, 'Come out with your hands up. We’re the FBI. We’re not going anywhere.'"

"Before I knew it, I was coming out to see what was going on and watched them bust out their windows. I reckon they got him in there," he added.

The outlet noted that local law enforcement was observed at the scene but neighbors noted that they didn't arrive there until roughly 30 minutes after the FBI did, and potentially after the inexplicable fatal raid had already been executed.

Family believes target of raid was unarmed

A subsequent report a few days later from WBBJ took stock of the extensive damage done to the property by the FBI, which included multiple shattered windows, broken fixtures and furniture, bullet holes throughout the residence, and a yard torn up under the heavy weight of armored vehicles, among other damage, not to mention the leftover debris from multiple flashbang grenades and tear gas canisters.

"There’s three up front and two on the sides they broke out … they were shooting flash … smoke grenades," Russell Deschler, the dead man's brother, told the outlet. "We believe they broke the windows of the garage so they could shoot. Because if you look, that chair they moved from back there and they were standing on the chair when they shot."

Deschler's elderly mother, identified by Fox News as Bonnie Deschler and the owner of the home, told WBBJ that she was there when the raid occurred and actually answered the door for the FBI agents, only to be yanked out of her own residence and thrown in the back of a police and told what was happening was "none of your business" when she asked questions.

She further shared how the entire incident had taken around 15 minutes and expressed her belief that her son had been unarmed when killed by the FBI.

No comment from local law enforcement about deadly raid in their jurisdiction

"It was a senseless act. You know Teddy was a 100 percent disabled veteran," Deschler told WBBJ. "He had problems. He had severe PTSD. He had depression but he was getting help for it but this was senseless. He didn’t have a weapon on him. He was just trying to get out of the house because it was filled with tear gas."

Noting the obstructed angle and view from where shots were fired from outside the garage in relation to where the targeted man had stood, Deschler observed, "You couldn’t see. The height of the door and where Teddy was standing when they shot him and killed him, you couldn’t see if he was armed or not and you know he wasn’t. Because if you look at the door you could see where his hands were full of blood and went down the door. Well if he had a weapon in his hand ..."

The Tennessee Star reported this week that neither of the two local law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in the area -- the Henderson Police Department and Chester County Sheriff's Office -- have responded to multiple requests for comment, nor have they made any public acknowledgment of Deschler's death during the August 16 raid.

Fox News noted that the family is now considering filing a civil lawsuit against the FBI in relation to the fatal incident, given the refusal to answer questions and provide an explanation as well as for all of the damage caused to the elderly mother's residence.

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