Two FBI agents were fatally shot and three wounded Tuesday while serving a federal search warrant in a child exploitation case in South Florida, authorities said.
The suspect also died at some point during the standoff in which he barricaded himself inside a home, said FBI Miami Special Agent Michael D. Leverock.
The FBI’s Inspection Division is investigating the incident per bureau policy, according to a statement from the FBI.
“The review process is thorough and objective and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances,” the FBI said.
Two of the wounded agents were taken to hospitals to be treated and were in stable condition, Leverock said. The third agent did not require hospitalization.
The agents had arrived to serve a federal search warrant in connection with a case involving violent crimes against children, Leverock said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray Tuesday identified the two deceased agents as Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger. The suspect’s name was not released.
“Every day, FBI special agents put themselves in harm’s way to keep the American people safe,” Wray said. “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…”
At 6:04 a.m., FBI and officers from multiple agencies were serving a federal warrant at the Water Terrace apartment complex in Sunrise, Florida, when the suspect inside started shooting, according to Otishia Browning-Smith, a spokeswoman for the Sunrise Police Department. The suspect, who was not identified, then barricaded himself inside the residence. The apartment complex where the incident occurred is in a middle-class neighborhood of single family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings
Asked how many rounds were fired, Browning-Smith said “there were too many to count.
Law enforcement agencies swarmed the neighborhood in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Sunrise after the shooting. Another large contingent of officers gathered outside a Fort Lauderdale hospital where victims were taken, according to television video.
Hours later, Sunrise Police urged residents of Water Terrace to remain inside their homes while law enforcement blocked the entrances to their community.
Julius McLymont, whose house borders the apartment complex, told the Associated Press the gunfire erupted with about four shots around 6 a.m.
He thought it was a car backfiring but about two minutes later he heard another volley of about five shots. He went outside and looked over his fence as police cars and ambulances rushed in. Then he saw officers working on someone lying on the ground, who was then loaded into an ambulance.
A SWAT team appeared next, with officers donning riot gear. Then they went around the building, yelling “go, go, go.”
McLymont said he couldn’t see the apartment where the shooting happened from his location.
The Sunrise Police Department announced several roads were closed because of the heavy police presence on Twitter. Hours later, the department said the scene was safe but urged residents to stay inside due to the “ongoing investigation.”
The FBI Agents Association called the deaths “devastating to the entire FBI community and to our country.”
“These Agents were working to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” association President Brian O’Hare said Tuesday. “FBIAA stands with the Agents’ families and pledges our support to them during this difficult time.”