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FBI searches 3 Fort Wayne properties; ex-NFL player Fabini releases statement

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Statement from Jason Fabini

Editor's note: Shortly before 5 p.m., a statement was released by public relations firm Asher Agency, which stated it was from Jason Fabini. The News-Sentinel placed a call to Pat Murphy of local law firm Barrett & McNagny, who said that there would be no further comment at this time but that position would be evaluated.

The statement reads: "Earlier today, December 6, warrants were served by investigators authorizing them to search a portion of my property and to search the home belonging to my brother, Michael and other family members. I have cooperated fully with authorities, and will continue to do so. I am not the target of the investigation and I was not involved in any criminal activity. I have not been charged, nor do I expect to be charged with a crime.

"My first concern is obviously with my brother and the rest of my family, but I want to reaffirm by commitment to the community and to those who believe in me as a role model, volunteer, professional, and athlete. I have always made service to others a priority and I will continue to do so even during this challenging time for my family.

"I expect the community will have many questions as rumors circulate and this investigation continues, but I ask that we trust in the authorities to do their job."

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 7:02 pm

The FBI carried out searches of at least three Fort Wayne homes and properties – including those of a former NFL player and his brother – Thursday as part of the agency's "Safe Streets" initiative.

Agent David Crawford confirmed the FBI and several other law enforcement agencies searched homes in the 6600 block of Cherry Hill Parkway and the 7000 block of Wayward Court, along with a property in the 8700 block of Wheelock Road.

"I can confirm we are conducting investigative activities," said Crawford, who could not discuss details of the ongoing investigation.

While Crawford would not identify the homeowners, Allen County property records indicate the Wheelock Road home belongs to Fort Wayne native and former NFL player Jason Fabini. The Cherry Hill home belongs to Fabini's brother, Michael, according to the property records. The owner of the Wayward Court home is listed as Gracie Matteson.

Crawford said the investigation also involved the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Indiana State Police; Allen County Sheriff's Department; Fort Wayne Police Department; and New Haven Police Department.

Crawford also confirmed the FBI searched all three properties in connection with the same investigation. While agents searched the houses on Cherry Hill Parkway and Wayward Court, Crawford said only that the property – not necessarily the home – on Wheelock was searched.

A neighbor who lives next door to the home on Cherry Hill said SWAT members arrived at the home shortly before 8 a.m. and approached the house with their weapons drawn. FBI trucks arrived a short time later, said the neighbor, who asked not to be named. Two FBI trucks were parked in the driveway just before noon, as masked agents periodically entered and exited the house through the garage.

A resident who lives near the home on Wayward Court called The News-Sentinel at about 8:10 a.m. and reported hearing noises that sounded like gunfire. But Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said the noise likely came from "flash-bang" devices. "Flash-bang" devices, also known as stun grenades, produce a loud sound and blinding light when detonated.

Tinkel said the sheriff's department SWAT team was assisting federal agents at that location. When The News-Sentinel went to the scene, officers were waiting outside the home in unmarked cars but would not speak with reporters.

No law enforcement activity was apparent at the Wheelock Road property at about noon.

Crawford would not say if anyone had been arrested or charged with a crime as of early Thursday afternoon.

News-Sentinel Metro Editor Elbert Starks III contributed to this report.