Two federal agents are dead and three wounded following a standoff in South Florida after they attempted to serve a warrant in a child exploitation case.
The suspect was also killed at some point after he barricaded himself in his home and exchanged fire with law enforcement.
The incident is already being described as one of the deadliest in the bureau’s history by the New York Times and was the first time an FBI agent has been killed in over a decade.
In the early hours of February 2, agents arrived at a home in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Sunrise, Florida to execute a warrant issued against a man accused of violent crimes against children.
The details are not yet clear, but a gun battle subsequently erupted in the family neighborhood as the man barricaded himself in his home.
He was later found dead, the New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon.
“A law enforcement official said it appeared that the man had killed himself before agents were able to arrest him. His identity was not released until his family could be notified of his death,” the outlet noted.
F.B.I. Director Christopher A. Wray identified the deceased agents as Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger.
“Every day, F.B.I. special agents put themselves in harm’s way to keep the American people safe,” he said in a statement. “Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger exemplified heroism today in defense of their country. The F.B.I. will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery.”
From the Times:
Ms. Schwartzenberger, 43, was a mother of two from Colorado and had been with the F.B.I. since 2005. She was part of the violent crimes against children squad in the bureau’s Miami field office, court records show. She was assigned to the Innocent Images National Initiative, a part of the F.B.I.’s cybercrimes program established to combat the proliferation of images of child sexual abuse online.
Mr. Alfin, 36, was a father of one from New York and had been a special agent since 2009. He was assigned to the Miami Child Exploitation task force. He discussed his role in an online F.B.I. article about the 2015 arrest of a Naples, Fla., man who ran what the bureau described as the world’s largest child pornography website. The site, called Playpen, had more than 150,000 users around the world.
This horrific act of violence is unique; hard-working men and women putting their lives on the line to protect children and rescue them from unthinkable exploitation and abuse are out there every day, however.
Let’s pray for the families of these true heroes and the tragic sacrifice they have made, and cover those still out there on the street fighting some of the sickest crimes imaginable with prayer every single day.
We cannot claim to oppose child exploitation without putting our full support behind these brave members of law enforcement and honor them deeply for the vital service they’re performing for our nation.
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