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FBI agent shot by booby-trapped wheelchair inside southern Oregon home

Published: October 2, 2018
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The Oregonian – by Shane Dixon Kavanaugh

They slipped by the minivan outfitted with the spring-loaded jaws of animal snares and avoided a circular hot tub turned on its side and designed to roll over trespassers who triggered a tripwire — something reminiscent of “a scene from the movie ‘Indiana Jones.'”

But the FBI special agent and three state police bomb technicians never made it past the empty wheelchair inside the manufactured home they entered on the southern Oregon property, court records say.   

With the slightest push, the wheelchair opened fire.

“I’m hit!” the federal agent yelled as blood gushed from his leg, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Medford.

The law enforcement officers had responded to the home in Williams, a town of 2,200 people in Josephine County, on Sept. 7 at the request of a real estate lawyer tasked with selling off the property, court records show.

An Oregon state police bomb squad technician stands by a booby-trapped hot tub found on Gregory Lee Rodvelt's property in Josephine County.

They soon discovered elaborate booby traps sprinkled throughout the 15-acre spread off Dreamhill Drive, the complaint alleges.

Spike strips at the bottom of the driveway. A rat trap rigged to fire a shotgun round when some someone tried to open the door to a detached garage.

Authorities say the makeshift weapons were the handiwork of former owner Gregory Lee Rodvelt, 66, who was forced to forfeit his property as part of an elder abuse case brought against him.

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