Two FBI agents were killed and three wounded after a confrontation with a suspect in South Florida forced nearby residents to congregate indoors with gunshots and rapid response teams stormed an apartment building.
The standoff in the Sun Rise suburb of Fort Lauderdale was one of the bloodiest days in the history of the FBI in South Florida and among the deadliest days nationally as well, according to the FBI website.
In a statement, Michael De Leverrock, an FBI agent in Miami, said that two of the wounded were taken to hospitals for treatment and are in stable condition. He said the suspect also died, but he did not say how or he recognized the person.
The shooting occurred around 6 a.m. in a middle-class neighborhood of single-family homes, duplexes, and apartment buildings west of Fort Lauderdale, near the Everglades.
The shooting erupted with about four shots – “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!” Said Julius Maclemont, whose home is on the border of the Water Terrace apartment complex where the suspect was trapped.
At first Maclemont thought the shooting was the result of a reverse car, then two minutes later he heard about five more shots. He went out and looked over the fence of his house as police cars and ambulances rushed in. Then he saw officers working on a person lying on the ground before they transported the person in an ambulance.
The SWAT team appeared next, with officers wearing riot gear. Then they ran around the building shouting, “Go go, go, go!” Maclemont said. He said he could not see from his position the apartment where the shooting happened.
Hours later, El Shorouk police urged Water Terrace residents to stay indoors while law enforcement authorities closed the entrances to their community.
Leverrock said FBI agents came to the apartment complex to issue a federal search warrant in connection with a case involving violent crimes against children.
A television video showed police motorcycles, with flashing lights, accompanying a fire fighting truck that was transporting the body of a customer to the medical examination office in nearby Dania Beach. Law enforcement officials from several agencies lined up to show their respect as a flag-covered corpse was removed from the vehicle and taken indoors.
Alex Pecero, a professor of sociology at the University of Miami who specializes in criminology, said that executing search warrants in a person’s home poses a great risk to law enforcement officers.
“Arrest warrants, along with local conflict calls and high-speed chases, are among the most dangerous for law enforcement – they don’t know what awaits them from within,” Pekero said.
There have been several other shootings throughout the history of the FBI where two agents have died, according to the FBI’s Wall of Honor.
In South Florida, the infamous “Miami Shootout” in 1986 took the lives of Agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove in a gunfight with two heavily armed robbery suspects who were also killed. Five FBI agents were wounded in the shooting, prompting the bureau to modernize the weapons the agents carried.