HOUSTON -- Special Agent Marc Delpit with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms faces an aggravated assault charge for allegedly beating a man and threatening a high school football crowd at gunpoint.
Houston Police spokesman Kese Smith said the incident took place around 8 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of St. Thomas High School during halftime of the varsity football game between St. Thomas and Angleton high schools.
Delpit is the father a St. Thomas varsity football player, and the alleged victim is a teammate's father.
Smith said according to multiple witnesses, the two men began arguing when Delpit punched the victim to the ground, and then continued to assault him. When bystanders tried to intervene, witnesses said the ATF agent pulled out a pistol and waved it at the crowd.
"ATF takes these allegations very seriously," said Senior Special Agent Nicole Strong with the Houston Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Explosives.
"Pending the outcome of the investigation, the agent in question has been placed on administrative leave with pay and has been relieved of his firearms, badge and credentials," Special Agent Strong said.
Strong added that agents from ATF's internal affairs division in Washington D.C. are flying to Houston to begin an internal investigation of the matter.
According to Houston police, Delpit claimed he thought he was going to be attacked by the other father and was defending himself. Delpit also said he felt threatened by the parking lot crowd and brandished a weapon to keep people at bay, according to spokesman Smith.
Smith said it was unclear what the nature of the argument was about.
St. Thomas High School referred all questions to attorney J. Marshall Horton who provided the following statement:
"St. Thomas High School experienced an unfortunate incident on campus. The school leadership has followed all appropriate procedures in the handling of this incident, and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement."
Horton would not address whether the school will prohibit the agent -- now aggravated assault suspect -- from attending future football games.
Delpit's attorney Brian Benken said his client has an impeccable record over 22 years in law enforcement, and ultimately will prove he is innocent of the charge.