Two FBI agents were killed Tuesday morning in a shootout with a suspect in a child pornography case. Three other agents were wounded in one of the bloodiest days in FBI history.
The shootout occurred in Sunrise, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, when the agents tried to serve a warrant. Two wounded agents were taken to a local hospital where they are in stable condition. The condition of the third wounded officer is currently unknown and the two deceased agents have yet to be identified.
After barricading himself in his apartment for several hours, the suspect apparently shot himself.
When the FBI child-porn squad arrived at the Sunrise residence on Tuesday morning, the agents were carrying out a routine search warrant to seize the suspect’s computer and other evidence, according to law enforcement sources.
The FBI obtained the internet protocol address for the suspect’s computer from an internet service provider and then matched that with the suspect’s physical address. Depending on the evidence found on the suspect’s home, the FBI and federal prosecutors would have likely filed a criminal complaint charging him with some type of child pornography charge, sources said.
There has been much debate over the last few months about the necessity of “no-knock” warrants. An incident like this points to why those warrants must be an option for officers.
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.
Veteran agents recall the shootout 35 years ago in Miami-Dade where two agents were killed and five wounded trying to take down two heavily armed robbery suspects. That incident led the FBI to go for more firepower in their handguns, replacing the .38 with 9mm semi-automatic firearms.