While Joe and Frank are at Dunning's house, the FBI (or maybe the CIA, or maybe both!?) surrounds them. Victoria tells them they are surrounded and there is no clean exit, but she can cover them to the woods, if they can create a distraction. Frank tells Cooper he is surrendering and coming out, and Cooper swears that he will be safe. He issues a no-shoot order.

As Frank (Joe pretending to be Frank) leaves the house he is shot instantly.

Who shot him and why?

  • 2
    I always thought it was Victoria as to create the distraction, seeing as Joe was near death anyways he felt it was the best use of his life. Maybe I am wrong in thinking they would have this kind of understanding but they all seem fairly aware and accepting of a probable death.
    – user6409
    Oct 13, 2013 at 1:40
  • I dont believe Victoria was in a position to shoot Joe. We see her looking at Cooper as he runs towards Joe and she was on Joe's starboard side, whereas Joe was shot in the Port side. Additionally, Sarah was right behind Victoria when the shot was fired and I believe she would have been startled by a shot and wouldn't have been party to shooting Joe and would have had a strong reaction to Victoria shooting him.
    – Bob
    Jul 5, 2019 at 1:57

5 Answers 5


Cooper’s reaction indicates that it did not come from the CIA, and the only other agency there was the FBI. Since it was not likely to be Frank, Sarah, Victoria, etc., it points to the FBI.

The problem of course is that just because Cooper called for hold-fire, does not mean that someone else from the CIA couldn’t have done it. As you suggested, it could have been another CIA agent working under direct orders from the higher-ups, working for his own agenda, or even just a case of nerves.

Also, Dunning probably has some more guards and could have tripped some sort of alarm to send for reinforcements.

Everything about that scene (especially the slow-motion and muted sound) make it clear that the shot is supposed to be dramatic and mysterious, so we are not really meant to know for sure. Plus, don’t forget that the scene leads immediately to an action escape, so the viewer is probably not meant to dwell on the facts and that scene served as a sort of transition to their unlikely escape.

  • 1
    i'm sure it is even possible that Victoria did it as part of the plan (Joe is terminally ill after all).
    – matt_black
    Dec 29, 2012 at 15:52

I think your point will become clearer by the following scene from the movie:

Cooper tries to negotiate Frank's surrender, but Frank tells Cooper about the vice-president's treachery, which shakes his faith. Joe sacrifices himself by taking Frank's place and pretending to give up. An unknown sniper kills Joe as he leaves the mansion, despite Cooper's order to hold fire.

Source- Wikipedia

  • 2
    I don't think that answers my question. I was hoping for more than "an unknown sniper" ;) My own feeling is that it was probably someone who had orders from higher up, probably Coopers Boss, or directly from the VP himself, to take out Frank at the earliest opportunity. Or someone under orders from Dunning, but I'm less inclined to that as I don't think he could have told anyone as he was captive,(and probably unconscious!!) at the time. Or did someone just screw up/not hear the no-shoot order.
    – AidanO
    Apr 26, 2012 at 7:22
  • I can't find sources for any of the above, hence the question...
    – AidanO
    Apr 26, 2012 at 7:23
  • @AidanO i have googled it and everywhere the killer is told to be a unknown peraon who shoots without the order of cooper.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Apr 26, 2012 at 9:46

I actually think that it might have been possibly Frank that shot Joe (from behind) being that yes they needed a distraction to get out of the house, two the fact that Joe was going to die soon from the cancer, and three Joe was already thought to be dead from the agent sent to the nursing home.


Another possibility is Ivan. After the group makes the woods, Victoria and Sarah exfil to the rear, and after some manuvering encounter Ivan. That indicates Ivan was in the same direction as Victoria prior to the shooting. I think it can't be Victoria, partially due to the lack of reaction from Sarah, but also because Victoria is using a suppressor and the rifle used to shoot Joe is not. It's probably still more likely there's another CIA agent or an FBI sleeper with kill on sight orders from Cynthia.


he shot himself because he was in stage 4 cancer going to die anyways and they needed a distraction. he did it with an old style cannon gun that made it sound like it was from a distance. you could see his right hand up to his chest and the left hand in his pocket, and he fell forward in the direction the gun shot came from. wikipedia is written by users, so them trying to make sense of it, I just called it the way I see it happening, of course if we could check the script they used when making the movie, that would tell us who fired the shot.

  • 2
    any sources to back this up? Did you see the old style cannon gun at any stage?
    – AidanO
    Jul 18, 2016 at 12:43
  • 1
    What is an "old style cannon gun" and how could it make "it sound like it was from a distance"?
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 7, 2020 at 15:52

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