Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger (pictured) and Special Agent Daniel Alfin were shot dead in Sunrise, just outside Fort Lauderdale, this morning while serving the warrant in a case involving ‘violent crimes against children’
The two FBI agents who were shot dead in Florida while trying to serve a federal search warrant on a child pornography suspect have now been identified.
Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger and Special Agent Daniel Alfin were killed in Sunrise, just outside Fort Lauderdale, this morning while serving the warrant in a case involving child porn and ‘violent crimes against children’.
The shooting unfolded at an apartment complex where the man suspected of possessing child pornography lived.
The suspect was killed after barricading himself inside the apartment and opening fire on the agents.
In the hours after the shooting, the bodies of Schwartzenberger and Alfin were placed on stretchers and draped with American flags as they were escorted into the Broward Medical Examiner’s office.
Footage from WSVN showed officers forming an honor guard as their bodies were taken inside.
FBI director Christopher Wray later praised the two slain agents for their ‘heroism’ and vowed to ‘honor their ultimate sacrifice’.
‘Tragically, the FBI lost two of our own today. Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger were shot and killed this morning in the line of duty while executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a crimes against children investigation,’ Wray said.
‘Every day, FBI special agents put themselves in harm’s way to keep the American people safe. Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger exemplified heroism today in defense of their country. The FBI will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery.’
Three other agents were injured in the standoff with the suspect. Two of the injured agents are in stable conditions in hospital. The third agent did not need to be hospitalized, Wray said.
Two FBI agents were shot dead in Sunrise, Florida this morning as they served a warrant in a child exploitation case. One of the slain agents is pictured above on a flag-draped stretcher arriving at a medical examiner’s officer surrounded by law enforcement
Two FBI agents have been shot dead and three others injured while serving an arrest warrant to a child pornography suspect this morning at a home in Florida this morning
Another stretcher draped in an American flag is pictured above being placed into an ambulance and escorted to the Broward Medical Examiner’s office in the hours after the shooting
The agents had been serving a federal court-ordered search warrant at the time in connection with a case involving child pornography and violent crimes against children, according to FBI Miami Special Agent Michael D. Leverock and FBI Agents Association President Brian O’Hare.
The FBI did not release the suspect’s name or provide any further details on his suspected crimes.
A law enforcement source told the Miami Herald that the FBI had been investigating the suspect alongside Fort Lauderdale federal prosecutors.
Agents were trying to serve a routine search warrant in order to seize the suspect’s computer as part of the child porn investigation.
Authorities say the FBI had found an IP address for the suspect’s computer on an internet service provider.
When agents arrived at his home, the suspect barricaded himself inside before opening fire.
If the agents were to have uncovered anything during the search, the suspect likely would have faced some type of child porn charge, sources said.
The confrontation marked one of the bloodiest days in FBI history in South Florida and among the deadliest nationally as well, according to the FBI website.
The shooting happened around 6am in a middle-class neighborhood of single family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings.
Police swarmed the Sunrise neighborhood just outside Fort Lauderdale after 6am following reports of the shooting involving FBI agents
The FBI said agents were serving a federal court-ordered search warrant at the time related to a ‘violent crimes against children case’
Five agents in total were shot, including the two that died. Law enforcement officers are pictured blocking an area where the shooting unfolded
The gunfire erupted with about four shots, according to Julius McLymont, whose house borders the Water Terrace apartment complex where the suspect was barricaded.
McLymont told the Associated Press that he initially thought the gunfire was a car backfiring but heard about five more shots a few minutes later.
He went outside and looked over his fence as police cars and ambulances rushed in. He said he saw officers working on someone lying on the ground before they loaded the person into an ambulance.
A SWAT team arrived and officers in riot gear went around the building, yelling, ‘Go, go, go!’ McLymont said. He said he couldn’t see the apartment where the shooting happened from his location.
Hours later, Sunrise Police urged residents of Water Terrace to remain inside their homes while law enforcement blocked the entrances to their community.
The FBI said the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
‘In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under investigation by the FBI’s Inspection Division,’ the FBI said in a statement. ‘The review process is thorough and objective and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances. No further information will be released at this time.’
Alex Piquero, a University of Miami sociology professor who has specialized in criminology, said serving search warrants at a person’s home is incredibly hazardous for law enforcement officers.
‘Serving warrants, next to domestic dispute calls and high speed chases, are among the most dangerous for law enforcement – they don´t know what awaits them on the inside,’ Piquero said.
There have been several other shootings throughout the FBI’s history in which two agents have died, according to the bureau’s Wall of Honor.
In South Florida, the infamous ‘Miami Shootout’ in 1986 claimed the lives of Agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove in a gunbattle with two heavily armed robbery suspects who were also killed. Five other FBI agents were wounded in that shooting, which led the bureau to upgrade the weapons that agents carry.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the SWAT team, are still gathered at the scene of the shooting
The Sunrise Police Department tweeted about the heavy police presence, noting that several roads were closed in the area