ATF shootout in Nashville: Breaking down the surveillance video

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There are still many unanswered questions following a gun battle behind a South Nashville restaurant Tuesday afternoon.

The hail of bullets between the ATF and a drug suspect resulted in 40-year-old Corey Wellman dying and an ATF agent being severely injured and rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

ATF officials have said little since the incident at 2:15 pm Tuesday, behind the Country Café in the 600 block of Murfreesboro Road.

But News 2 has learned that Corey Wellman was the target of a months long drug investigation that began with undercover buys in June.

According to federal arrest affidavits filed by the ATF, on June 30, 2021, ATF special agents and MNPD bought one ounce of heroin from Corey Wellman.

The affidavit indicates that the deal was brokered initially through Wellman’s Instagram account (@afghan_bandz).

During a controlled buy to purchase heroin, Wellman told the ATF’s confidential informant that a “junkie” previously lived in the house where they were conducting their transaction and that Wellman used that “junkie” to test the heroin that he and the confidential informant were cutting with a cutting agent.

Wellman said the “junkie” overdosed on the heroin prior to Wellman and the C.I. cutting it.

Due to the likely presence of fentanyl, the suspected heroin was not field tested. The purchased heroin yielded a field weight of approximately 59.7 grams and has been sent to a laboratory for confirmatory testing.

According to information from the DOC, Wellman was out on parole and still had eight more years on paper to serve. According to documents he was in prison as recently as March 2019.

News 2 obtained video from behind the Country Café.

The video is dramatic, startling, amazing. It shows a firefight unfolding in close quarters.

The surveillance footage begins around 2:15 Tuesday afternoon. It’s business as usual behind the Country Café, where cars are parked and people are coming and going.

Suddenly a silver van filled with ATF agents approaches Corey Wellman’s black SUV.

You can see the silver van bump the black SUV in the footage. Almost simultaneously, the first shot is fired, apparently from inside Wellman’s vehicle. Right after, doors on the van open.

One of the agents in the rear driver side opens the sliding van door. He appears to want to get out, but there are so many bullets flying he is forced to remain in the van for more than 10 seconds.

What unfolds over the next half a minute is a hail of gunfire that witnesses estimate could be 30 to 40 shots.

The video shows a woman in the passenger seat of the black SUV run for cover as bullets continue to hit the windshields of both vehicles.

Deadly Nashville shootout surveillance video
(Video obtained by WKRN News 2)

The footage shows Corey Wellman’s door flying open.

As the gun battle commences, multiple agents armed with rifles and pistols are firing at the black SUV, eventually taking down Wellman.

Agents are seen approaching the suspect carefully after the gunfire subsides. By this time in the video, the severely wounded ATF special agent is behind the van.

A dozen officers quickly converge on the scene from multiple directions. Three fast-thinking agents waste no time coming to their fallen comrade’s aid. They quickly pick up the limp man, carrying him to another SUV, turning it into a makeshift ambulance.

Agents rush in with their wounded fellow officer and race out of camera range, headed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

All of this goes down in a short amount of time.

According to the time code on the surveillance footage, only 1:45 elapses from the point of the first shot fired until the moment the agent is en route to the hospital.

The ATF agent wounded in the gun battle has not been identified, as of Wednesday afternoon.

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