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Government & Politics

Roy McGrath killed in confrontation with federal agents in Tennessee

Roy McGrath, pictured here during his brief tenure as Gov. Larry Hogan’s chief of staff. Photo from the Executive Office of the Governor.

Roy McGrath, the former top aide to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) who became the subject of a nationwide manhunt, was killed in Tennessee after he was injured by gunfire in an encounter with federal agents on Monday evening.

McGrath’s death was confirmed by his defense attorney, Joseph Murtha.

“Roy succumbed to the injuries inflicted earlier this evening. It is unclear if it was a self-inflicted wound or as a result of an exchange of gunfire with the FBI,” Murtha said in a statement. “It is a tragic ending to three weeks of uncertainty. I think it’s important to stress that Roy never wavered about his innocence.”

McGrath was scheduled to be tried in federal court on March 13 on an eight-count indictment related to his employment at the quasi-public Maryland Environmental Service and as the governor’s chief of staff.

The lethal confrontation with federal agents ended the manhunt that began when he did not appear at the federal courthouse in Baltimore that morning.

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Albert Maresca Jr. said the FBI is reviewing “an agent involved shooting” involving McGrath that occurred around 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“During the arrest the subject, Roy McGrath, sustained injury and was transported to the hospital,” Maresca said in a statement. “The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously. In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under investigation by the FBI’s Inspection Division.” 

The U.S. Marshals and FBI had combined for a $20,000 reward for information leading to McGrath’s arrest.

While he was missing, a person writing under the name Ryan Cooper published two books on Amazon in which the author claimed to write McGrath’s side of the story. While the books touched on charges leveled against McGrath, they offered little evidence.

McGrath, who spent about three months as Hogan’s chief of staff in spring 2020, faced eight counts, including wire fraud, theft and falsification of a government document stemming from his steps to secure a $233,648 severance payment from the Maryland Environmental Service just as he was joining Hogan’s staff. The payment was equal to his annual salary as head of the agency. 

Prosecutors charge that McGrath also sought reimbursement for numerous expenses from the state and failed to claim vacation time while in Florida and on a Mediterranean cruise. 

McGrath was also charged in state court, where prosecutors said he illegally recorded private conversations involving senior state officials without their permission during his employment at the Maryland Environmental Service and as chief of staff. 


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Roy McGrath killed in confrontation with federal agents in Tennessee