U.S. Attorney and FBI Statement Regarding Identity of Longhorn Bandit
DENVER—U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle today confirmed the individual found dead at the Essex House Motel in Littleton, Colorado, on the evening of Friday, May 8, 2015, was believed by law enforcement to be the person responsible for a string of Metro Denver bank robberies, who had been dubbed by the FBI as the “Longhorn Bandit.” Yesterday, Arapahoe County Coroner Kelly C. Lear-Kaul, M.D. released the identity of the individual as 19 year old Jesus Emmanuel Avila. Earlier last week, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained a sealed Criminal Complaint—now unsealed—charging Avila with one count of bank robbery, and alleging in the complaint he committed two other bank robberies.
Thanks to the investigative work of the FBI and Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force (RMSSTF), Special Agents and Task Force Officers were first able to identify the Longhorn Bandit as Avila. They later determined the location where Avila was believed to be staying. The FBI SWAT Team and RMSSTF members went to the location, the Essex House Motel, in Littleton, Colorado, to execute the arrest warrant. In the process of affecting the arrest of Avila, the defendant shot an FBI SWAT Team member in the leg. The injured FBI Special Agent was immediately transported to a local hospital, where it was determined his injuries were not life threatening. After Avila shot the FBI Agent, he turned the gun on himself. He died from a single gunshot wound to the head (manner of death classified as suicide), according to the Arapahoe County Coroner.
“The hard work of the FBI and the Safe Streets Task Force led to the identification and location of a serial bank robber,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “As the subject’s actions firing on law enforcement agents and wounding an FBI agent show, the robber was armed, dangerous and posed a grave risk to the public. Our thoughts are with the injured FBI Special Agent, with best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
“On behalf of the FBI, I want to express my sincere gratitude to those Agents, Officers, Paramedics and agencies, especially the Littleton Police Department, who provided invaluable assistance in response to the shooting on Friday,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “We are very thankful the wounds sustained by our Agent are not more serious. He has received outstanding treatment from the professionals at the Swedish Medical Center, and we look forward to his return to duty upon recovering from his injuries.”
The Criminal Complaint charging Avila has been unsealed and dismissed as a result of the defendant’s suicide.