Two FBI brokers shot lifeless in Florida whereas serving child-exploitation warrant, police say

The fatal encounter marked the first time FBI agents were fatally shot in law enforcement operations since 2008, and comparisons were made with an incident 35 years ago that resulted in two agents being killed and five others wounded in a bloody suburban shootout of Miami. The bureau disclosed few details of the encounter other than that a suspect opened fire on agents around 6 a.m. when they went into an apartment complex to “execute a federal court-ordered search warrant to investigate a case of violent crimes against children.” .

Police officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing, said preliminary reports suggest the alleged gunman killed himself despite warnings that investigators were still working on the exact circumstances of the case To put together an encounter. Authorities failed to identify the suspect and stated during a press conference Tuesday evening that they would not do so until this person’s family was notified.

The FBI personnel killed were special agents Daniel Alfin (36) and Laura Schwartzenberger (43), who both specialized in investigating crimes against children. Two other agents were taken to the hospital in stable condition, each one being shot multiple times. Another was injured but stayed at the scene, officials said. The wounded were not identified.

“FBI special agents put themselves in danger every day to protect the American people,” said FBI director Christopher A. Wray in a statement. “Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger demonstrated heroism today in defense of their country. The FBI will always honor their last victim and forever be grateful for their bravery. We will continue to stand by our FBI family and the families of these special agents in the coming days and bring together all the resources we can to tackle this together. “

President Biden said on February 2 that his “heart aches for the families” of FBI agents killed and injured during an arrest warrant in Florida. (The Washington Post)

The filming took place at the Water Terrace Apartments in Sunrise, Florida, a dormitory northwest of Fort Lauderdale. Royal palms line the nearby streets, with the complex itself being in a part of town where expensive subdivisions of lavish houses give way to bourgeois housing. Officials said agents went into the apartment hoping to get computers or other devices out of the residence when the shooting broke out.

George Piro, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, said agents issue such arrest warrants almost daily and “do thorough research and meticulously plan to consider threats or threats.” In general, he said, the serving of arrest warrants ends without incident and investigators continue their work.

“The operation this morning in Sunrise ended tragically and the issue opened fire on the members of the search team,” Piro said, later adding. “Dan and Laura left home this morning to do the mission they signed up for and loved.” do to protect the American people. They were precious members of the FBI and will forever be heroes. “

The spacious apartment complex, which is cut by a canal, is fenced in and surrounded by purple walls. The units are housed in taupe colored buildings, some of which are two stories high. On Tuesday, children in colorful backpacks were accompanied by guards across the street, where a yellow warning tape marked a police cordon.

The complex is within four miles of at least three schools, including the Franklin Academy Charter School directly across the street. Some parents left work there on Tuesday afternoon to pick up their children after learning of the shootings.

“That’s scary, but it speaks for our time,” said Ester Fredric, 40, a retail salesman. “I feel like I need to sit down and talk to my daughter in a way that she can understand. You know, ‘No strangers. Danger.'”

David Alfin, Daniel Alfin’s father, said his son was a Florida State University graduate and came from a family dedicated to public service. Daniel’s older brother works in law enforcement in South Florida and his younger brother teaches at the US Military Academy.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Daniel and his brothers,” said David Alfin. “I think they were incredibly great kids interested in helping others, and they found a way to do it through their service commitments.”

Piro said Alfin joined the FBI in 2009 and was initially assigned to the Albany, NY office. He had worked on crime against children cases for more than six years and had been in Miami since 2017, Piro said. According to a 2017 FBI article, Alfin was involved in an investigation into the creator of what is believed to be the world’s largest child pornography website: Playpen. He is survived by a woman and a child, Piro said.

Schwartzenberger joined the FBI in 2005 and was initially assigned to the Albuquerque office, Piro said. Transferred to the Miami office in 2010, she had worked on crimes against children for more than seven years, including investigating people who assume false identities online and try to solicit or extort nude pictures of minors. She spoke regularly with students at Rockway Middle School in Miami about her job and the dangers of social media, the school said in a statement.

“She always said,” I feel like coming here and talking about the hard stuff means I won’t see you guys at my end, “the school said in a statement.” With their presentations, the students would be one Raise awareness of online security and cyberbullying, and experience the evidence response process of an FBI agent … We will miss Laura’s commitment not just to Rockway, but to the community as a whole. “

Piro said Schwartzenberger was survived by a husband and two children.

“The FBI is a family and our chosen profession is fraught with dangers,” said Piro. “Today this grim reality has taken our family away from two of our best.”

Across the country, current and former law enforcement officers praised the agents, saying the shooting underscored the dangers of their work.

“These agents have worked to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” said Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association. “FBI special agents are risking their lives to protect our country, and the loss of these agents is devastating to the entire FBI community and to our country. The FBIAA hopes all Americans will join us in helping these FBI families through this time of tragedy. “

In a remark at the White House, President Biden said: “My heart aches for families. … you risked your life and it’s a hell of a price. “

At the Department of Justice in DC, a spokeswoman said acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson was overseeing the investigation.

“We mourn two of our FBI colleagues who were killed on duty today,” Wilkinson said in a statement. “Our thoughts go 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 risk their lives every day to support our mission. We will never forget the ultimate victim of these special agents. “

The FBI publicly lists 81 agents and other employees who lost their lives while on duty, according to an FBI website tracking this information. The total includes several in recent years whose deaths were due to illnesses related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

According to the agency’s Wall of Honor, the last gunshot death occurred in 2008 when Special Agent Samuel S. Hicks was killed while on an arrest warrant near Pittsburgh. Authorities were executing an arrest warrant in a house connected to a drug trafficking organization when Hicks was fatally shot, the bureau said.

Faiola reported from Sunrise, Fla. Julie Tate and Mark Berman in Washington who contributed to this report.

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