US & Canada

FBI agent shot by booby-trapped wheelchair in Oregon

Police photo of Gregory Rodvelt from April 2017 Image copyright Surprise Police Department
Image caption Gregory Rodvelt, pictured in this April 2017 police photo, is accused of assaulting a federal officer

A man has been charged with assault after fortifying his Oregon home "like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark".

FBI agents found a circular hot tub linked up to a tripwire, a fortified front door and animal traps laid around the property, local media report.

But they were not able to prevent a wheelchair, fitted with a fishing line and shotgun bullets, from firing on and hitting an agent in the leg.

Gregory Rodvelt, 66, was reportedly trying to prevent his home being sold.

Federal officers found the fortifications when they entered the property in Williams, Josephine County.

Image copyright Paramount Pictures
Image caption Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the 1981 film

A federal complaint filed at the US district court in Medford, Oregon, read: "Upon closer examination, the technicians discovered that the spa was rigged in such a manner that when the gate was opened it would activate a mechanical trigger that would cause the spa to roll towards the person at the gate.

"[It was] much like a scene from the movie Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark in which actor Harrison Ford is forced to outrun a giant stone boulder that he inadvertently triggered by a booby trap switch."

The customised wheelchair was in the hallway and let off its deadly charge when it accidentally got pushed, the records show.

The wounded agent was rushed to a nearby hospital where X-ray results showed a shotgun pellet embedded in his leg.

Gregory Rodvelt had been forced to give up the house after being accused in 2016 of abusing his 90-year-old mother and her guardian at their property.

He had been in jail following an armed stand-off in Arizona last year, but was reportedly allowed out for two weeks in mid-August so he could prepare the house for sale.

The estate agent selling the home alerted the authorities at the end of August after coming across a sign on the property saying it was "protected with improvised devices".

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