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South Florida Raid Leaves 2 FBI Agents Dead, Others Wounded

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

In Florida today, two FBI agents were killed, and three others were wounded while serving a warrant. The suspect, a person accused of violent crimes against children, also died. NPR's Greg Allen reports that it ranks among the worst shootings in the bureau's history.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: It took place early this morning in a residential neighborhood in Sunrise, near Fort Lauderdale. A team of agents, along with local law enforcement, arrived at a home to serve a warrant and arrest a subject reportedly suspected of possessing child pornography. The FBI is releasing few details. The bureau says the shootings occurred around 6 a.m. When it was over, two agents were dead. Three others were wounded. Two were taken to the hospital. The suspect was also dead. The Miami Herald is reporting that the suspect barricaded himself in the home before shooting and killing himself. The neighborhood where the incident occurred remained under lockdown for at least three hours. The FBI hasn't released the name of the suspect. The agents killed were Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger.

In a statement, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, every day, FBI special agents put themselves in harm's way to keep the American people safe. Wray said Alfin and Schwartzenberger, quote, "exemplified heroism today in defense of their country." Former FBI agent Paul Miller says shootings like this are always thoroughly investigated.

PAUL MILLER: Inspectors will come down and shooting teams will recreate exactly what occurred. And they're going to reconstruct it for the edification of other agents and all of law enforcement.

ALLEN: In the FBI's 112-year history, 81 agents are reported to have died in the line of duty. Today's shooting recall earlier incidents in which multiple agents lost their lives. The worst toll came in 1934, when three agents died while apprehending notorious gangster Baby Face Nelson. Miller recalls another shooting that shook the bureau in 1986.

MILLER: It was a dark day for the FBI, dark day for Miami.

ALLEN: Miller was with the Miami field office when two agents were killed and five others were wounded in a shootout with two bank robbers. After that incident, the FBI did a review of its response and found its agents were outgunned. After that, agents began using more powerful weapons and better body armor. The FBI says its review of this incident and the deaths and wounding of its agents will be, quote, "thorough and objective and done as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances."

Greg Allen, NPR News, Miami. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.