Examiner.Com Articles about John's Case

John's Appeal To the 5th Circuit Court

Government's Reply

NRA Expresses their Support

Update 06/06/2011:

As of the status hearing on May 25th, the government informed the courts that a days testimonies were lost. John's lawyers has petitioned the 5th circuit court for a mistrial and bond. Currently the bond has be denied by the 5th Circuit Court and John has to report and start his time on Friday.


Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent John Shipley, was born in Huntington, Indiana. He is married to Katherine Spicer who grew up in Damascus, Maryland. They have a daughter age five and a son age four.

John graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology and a Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve in 1992. John joined the Volunteer Fire Department in his home town and trained and became a Fireman and an Emergency Medical Technician.

John went on active duty in the United States Army and completed Army Flight Training and holds ratings in the UH-1, Huey and CH-47, Chinook helicopters. After flight training, John continued to be active in the Army Reserve and worked for the Pinkerton Security Agency where he started as a Security Guard and was promoted to Account Manager.

John completed his training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and became a Special Agent in 1996. He was assigned to the El Paso, Texas FBI office upon graduation. John was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team member for five years and he qualified as a Sniper in 2001 and completed the Advanced Police Sniper Course in 2003. He received a Department of Justice / Federal Bureau of Investigation Certificate of Achievement from Director Robert S. Mueller, III in 2002.

In 2003 John worked a case where a Southwest Airline flight attendant accused a female passenger of threatening her, and causing bruises on her forearm. The passenger was removed from the flight in El Paso and spent the night in jail. The passenger, the flight crew and several passengers were interviewed and statements were taken. John was assigned the duty to file the written complaint and he discovered that the flight attendant had not told the truth. He consulted with superiors and a judge and the passenger was released and returned to the airport to complete her journey. John would not turn his back on an innocent person.

The passenger later brought a suit against the airline and told John that if she was awarded any damages she wanted to give it to him, because he was the only one that would do the right thing and not let an injustice prevail. John told her he could not and would not accept any money because he only did his job, nothing more nothing less. He also reported this conversation to his FBI superiors. The lady won damages of approximately $28 Million. In 2005 a criminal investigation of John was started which accused him of accepting money from this lady. His bank and tax records were subpoenaed as well as hers, and you guessed it, this never happened. Next, and administrative action was started by the same investigator and we still are waiting to hear what the outcome will be.

John has loved guns since he was about 2 years old. His educational tinker toys and Lincoln logs were transformed into guns. From the time he could legally own a weapon, in his spare time you could find him on shooting ranges trying to become a more proficient marksman. When he attended the FBI Academy at Quantico, VA he was thrilled that he could shoot on their ranges, use their ammunition and they even paid him to do it. His dream of becoming an FBI agent became a reality. He was a SWAT team member for five years and was so excited when he qualified to attend the FBI Sniper School where he wore the yellow shirt as the best shooter of the day.

But his personal collection of guns is now in the possession of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau (ATF). They searched his home over a year ago and seized 28 weapons 9 of which were given to him by his grandfather and two which were duty weapons. He readily admits that he has bought and sold weapons (not illegal according to the rules and regulations of the ATF) but only to enhance his collection. At one time he liquidated part of his collection (still not illegal according to the ATF rules and regulations) to pay for in-vitro medications and procedures for his wife that were not covered by their insurance and finally to pay the expenses involved with the adoption of two fabulous children.

When his finances were back in order, he returned to his hobby. He became interested in long range shooting and purchased a 50 caliber rifle. Like most collectors, he started with the basic model but was soon told about other features by other collectors. He would sell a gun to buy a better model. He even took vacation from the FBI, paid with his personal funds and attended the Barrett 50 Caliber Tactical Long Range School in order to become as proficient with the weapon as possible. John also recently qualified to become a Firearms Instructor for the FBI. And now the ATF is accusing him of buying and selling weapons illegally. Do they understand that someone with a passion for their hobby is not a dealer? John is confident that he was following all the laws of firearms ownership according to the Rules and Regulations of the ATF. When he had a question regarding the rules he would consult with Federal Firearms Licensee's (Gun Shop Owners) and they would read the regulations together. If they were still not sure of the correct answer, he has even called the ATF to get the correct answer about the law above and beyond what most law-abiding citizens would do. John would never intentionally break a law, he understands the severity of doing so and would never cause harm to his family or disgrace the integrity of the FBI. He has sworn to uphold all of the laws or our country and I assure you he has.