Two FBI agents were killed early on Tuesday and three others were wounded while trying to serve a search warrant at a Florida home, an encounter that turned into one of the federal law enforcement agency’s bloodiest in decades.
As a team of law enforcement officers tried to execute the court-ordered warrant involving violent crimes against children at the home in Sunrise, Florida, shots were fired at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT), the FBI said in a statement.
The search warrant sought evidence in connection with suspected possession of child pornography, the FBI Agents Association added in a statement.
Two of the wounded agents were in stable condition at a hospital, while the third did not require hospitalization, the FBI said. The subject of the warrant, who was not identified, also died, it said.
The man being investigated had apparently barricaded himself inside an apartment complex and was found dead, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified officials. It was unclear how he died, the newspaper said.
The scene on Tuesday morning near the home in Sunrise, just west of Fort Lauderdale and about 30 miles north of Miami, was swarming with emergency and law enforcement vehicles from the FBI and police in Sunrise and surrounding jurisdictions.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident and would likely address it later on Tuesday.
FBI Director Christopher Wray identified the dead agents as Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger and hailed them as heroes.
“Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger exemplified heroism today in defense of their country,” Wray said in a statement. “The FBI will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery.”
— FBI (@FBI) February 2, 2021
The shooting deaths, which remain under investigation, were among the bloodiest episodes for the FBI.
Here is the official statement from the DOJ regarding the two FBI agents killed today, in full:
“This morning FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger were killed in the line of duty and three other agents were wounded while executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a crimes against children investigation in Sunrise, Florida. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the following statement:
“We mourn the tragic loss of two of our FBI colleagues who were killed today in the line of duty,” said Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. “Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones and with their three colleagues who were shot in today’s devastating events. On this dark day, we pay tribute to the brave men and women of the FBI who put their lives on the line every day in support of our mission. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice made by these special agents.”
Here is the full statement from the FBI Agents Association regarding the deaths of the two field agents:
“The FBI Agents Association mourns the loss of two FBI Special Agents killed in the line of duty today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these Agents and with the Agents wounded in today’s incident. At the time of the shooting, the Agents were carrying out a search warrant in the Miami, Florida area to seize evidence in connection with suspected possession of child pornography. These Agents were working to protect the most vulnerable in our society. FBIAA stands with the Agents’ families and pledges our support to them during this difficult time.
FBI Special Agents risk their lives to protect our country, and the loss of these Agents is devastating to the entire FBI community and to our country. FBIAA hopes that all Americans will join us in our efforts to support these FBI families in this time of tragedy.”
In 1994, two agents were shot dead along with a police detective at the Washington, D.C., police headquarters when a homicide suspect opened fire on them with an assault weapon, also wounding a third agent, according to the FBI’s website.
Another deadly encounter occurred in 1986, also in Florida, when two agents were killed and five others were wounded in a Miami shootout with two bank robbery suspects, the FBI said.
The last fatal shooting of an FBI agent on duty was on Nov. 19, 2008, which also unfolded during the execution of a warrant, the FBI said. Agent Samuel Hicks was shot and killed as he sought to execute a federal arrest warrant associated with a drug trafficking organization in Pittsburgh, it said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org