SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The FBI is mourning the loss of two of their agents.
Special Agent Daniel Alfin, 36, and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, were shot and killed Tuesday morning in Sunrise while executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a crimes against children investigation.
Schwartzenberger, 43, had been an agent with the FBI since December 2005 and worked in the Miami field office on a squad of agents handling violent crimes against children, according to court records. Her work primarily focused on tracking offenders who sexually exploit children online and investigating other crimes against children.
Alfin, 36, who also investigated child exploitation cases, had previously worked at FBI headquarters handling major cases involving violent crimes against children, according to court records. He had a degree in information technology and went through the FBI's specialized training programs for cybercrimes. He was involved in a major child exploitation investigation dubbed Playpen that resulted in arrests around the world.
"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."
At approximately 6 a.m., the agents were part of a team of law enforcement officers executing a search warrant in the vicinity of 10100 Reflections Boulevard when shots were fired.
Three other agents were injured in the shooting. Two remain in the hospital in stable condition.
The shootings marked one of the bloodiest days in FBI history in South Florida and among the deadliest nationally as well, according to the FBI website.
"They were valuable members of the FBI and will forever be heroes," Special Agent in Charge George Piro said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "We will always honor their ultimate sacrifice."
The subject in the search warrant is also dead, but Piro said his name is not being released at this time, pending notification of kin.
It's believed the subject committed suicide, and monitored the approach of agents through a doorbell camera and ambushed them through the unopened door with an assault-style rifle, the Miami Herald reported.
Attorney General Ashley Moody posted a statement on Twitter saying: "Infuriated by the cowardly killing of federal agents shot while serving a warrant on a suspect accused of crimes against children. Instead of answering for his despicable crimes, this pathetic, evil man opened fire on officers."
In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under investigation by the FBI’s Inspection Division. The review process is thorough and objective and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.
Because this is an ongoing investigation, no further information will be released at this time.
CBS12 News spoke with Schwartzenberg in 2018 for an investigative piece on sex extortion.
Gov. DeSantis addressed his condolences from Tallahassee earlier in the day.
President Biden received a briefing on the situation from Homeland Security Advisor Sherwood Randall. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called it a "terrible tragedy."
Sen. Lauren Book, who represents District 32 in Broward County, issued a statement on Tuesday morning's "horrific" shootings:
“Special Agent Dan Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger were heroes among us, making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty while working to keep children safe from sexual abuse and online exploitation — scourges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community will never forget these agents’ bravery. We are safer because of their service.”
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder also posted his condolences on Facebook Tuesday night:
We at the Martin County Sheriff’s Office express our deepest condolences to the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation following the murder of two of their agents.
The agents were shot and killed this morning while serving a search warrant at the Sunrise home of a suspected child sex predator. Three other agents were also shot in the attack. The agents were known for their tenacity in their fight against those who prey on our most vulnerable. The battle against this evil is real, and now our society is two warriors short in this struggle.
The Sheriff’s Office along with the good people of Martin County pray for healing for the victim’s families and for those who fought alongside the fallen agents and must continue striving to protect our children.
The deaths of Alfin and Schwartzenberger brings the total number of officers killed in the line of duty this year to 31.
After the shootings Tuesday, police motorcycles with their lights flashing escorted a fire rescue truck as it brought the body of one of the agents to the medical examiner's office in nearby Dania Beach. Law enforcement officials from numerous agencies lined up to pay their respects as a flag-covered body was removed from the vehicle and taken inside.
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 gun battle 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.