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FBI identifies slain agents who ‘exemplified heroism’ in Fort Lauderdale shootings

The FBI released the identities of two federal agents who were killed in a shooting early Tuesday morning as law enforcement officials attempted to serve a search warrant in a child pornography case to a suspect who barricaded himself inside his home in a Fort Lauderdale suburb.

“Tragically, the FBI lost two of our own today,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. 

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“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 in Sunrise, Florida.”

Both agents had a history of investigating child pornography and sexual exploitation cases, according to reports by the Miami Herald. 

Alfin, 36, who had been an FBI special agent since 2009, was recently involved in a case against an aide to the mayor of Miami who was accused of luring a teenage victim to City Hall under the guise of an interview and then kissing and fondling him during the meeting. Rene Pedrosa, who was originally facing state charges that were later dropped for federal charges filed in March 2020, allegedly sent lewd photos to his victim as well.

Alfin was also involved in an FBI hacking campaign to expose child pornography circulating on the dark website, Playpen. The investigation later brought down the founder of the site, Steven Chase, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2017. 

Schwartzenberger, 43, an FBI agent since 2005, also worked on child exploitation investigations, many involving internet child pornography. She was active in the community as well, visiting middle schools to teach students about the dangers of online predators. 

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The attack on Tuesday that claimed both their lives happened at around 6 a.m. ET. Police officers from multiple agencies responded to the scene and shut down a number of streets within the middle-class neighborhood of single-family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings located west of Fort Lauderdale, near the Everglades.

“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,” Wray said. 

“The FBI will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery. We continue to stand by our FBI Family, and the families of these Special Agents, in the days to come, bringing every resource we can to get through this together.”

Three other officers were shot and wounded during the incident as well– two were hospitalized and are in stable condition while the third did not require hospitalization, Wray 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’s website.

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.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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