Family, friends gather to remember man killed in ATF shootout

Corey Wellman
Posted at 10:43 PM, Oct 07, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The investigation continues into what happened Tuesday when police say Corey Wellman shot and critically hurt a federal ATF agent.

Wellman died in the shooting.

Thursday, family and friends of Wellman spoke exclusively with NewsChannel 5, saying they want to know how everything went down.

"You wonder why he was paranoid?" said Abdul Malik, a friend of the Wellman Family. "Because the perception of him was what you all put on the news in his death."

Metro Police said ATF agents were trying to arrest Wellman on Tuesday before the shooting. Court records show Wellman had an active federal warrant out for his arrest, stemming from an undercover heroin buy orchestrated by a confidential informant working with the ATF.

"If you want to say he's done something, that's what it is: he understood that the way people perceived him put him in a very dangerous situation," Malik said. "You all thought he was a big magnitude of gangster, but he was a husband, he was a father, he was a son he was a brother, a humanitarian, the list of things he was goes on."

Wellman's friends and family told NewsChannel 5 they think federal agents or prosecutors should have given Wellman the chance to turn himself in peacefully.

They say Wellman was in fear for his life, especially when they say the ATF pulled up in an unmarked car and pinned Wellman in, with who they say was his pregnant wife in the car next to him.

Wellman's family and friends say they don't think the ATF made clear who they were.

"We're all human beings," said Keshia Wellman, Corey Wellman's former wife. "They should have identified themselves, instead of crashing into his car, they should have let themselves be known and given him the opportunity to surrender."

The surveillance video NewsChannel 5 obtained of the shooting does not contain any audio, so from that clip, it's impossible to tell what may or may not have been said.

Thursday night, NewsChannel 5 asked the ATF whether its agents identified themselves before the shooting, but the agency referred questions to the FBI, the lead agency in the federal investigation. The FBI said Thursday it does not comment on ongoing investigations.

While Wellman's family's perspective is likely different than that of federal agents, both groups want to find answers about what happened.