The suspect allegedly opened fire on the agents as they approached his door to serve a search warrant. A law enforcement source said that the gunman, who has not yet been identified, had been watching the agents approach the door through a doorbell camera and then fired through the closed door with an assault-style rifle, leaving the door with “huge holes” from the spray of bullets.
The hail of gunfire killed Special Agents Daniel Alfin, 36, and Laura Schwartzenberger, 43. Both had a long history of working cases involving crimes against children.
“Dan and Laura left home this morning to carry out the mission they signed up for and loved to do — to keep the American people safe,” George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office said during a press conference about the shootings. “They were valuable members of our team. They will forever be heroes. We will always honor their ultimate sacrifice.”
Piro said that on Tuesday morning, FBI agents and officers from other law enforcement agencies had assembled in Sunrise, Florida to serve a court-ordered federal search warrant as part of a violent crimes against children investigation.
The gunman, who authorities said they believe later died after barricading himself in his apartment, was suspected of possessing illegal graphic images of children, the paper reported.
Authorities have not released any additional details about the investigation.
“FBI Miami conducts search warrants almost daily. They are an essential and important part of what we do and are thoroughly researched and meticulously planned to take into account any threats or dangers,” Piro said. “The vast majority of these warrants occur without incident and the investigation continues.”
But just before 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, gunfire erupted at the Water Terrace apartment complex where authorities had been trying to serve the warrant. The bullets killed Alfin and Schwartzenberger and injured three other agents with “varying severity,” Piro said.
The FBI quickly called for backup and was assisted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office SWAT unit, which had been in the area to arrest another child porn suspect in a separate case. The SWAT team was able to help extract at least one of the wounded agents, sources told the paper.
Piro said two of the wounded agents were transported to a local hospital, while the third was treated at the scene.