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2 FBI Agents Killed, 3 Others Wounded In Raid In Southern Florida

The FBI says Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger died during a raid that was part of an investigation into violent crimes against children. Here, law enforcement officers investigate the scene of the raid — an apartment complex in Sunrise, Fla.
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The FBI says Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger died during a raid that was part of an investigation into violent crimes against children. Here, law enforcement officers investigate the scene of the raid — an apartment complex in Sunrise, Fla.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Two FBI agents are dead and at least three others are wounded after a raid on a home in Sunrise, Fla., turned violent early Tuesday. The suspect reportedly barricaded himself in his home, where agents were serving a search warrant as part of a "violent crimes against children case," the FBI said in a statement. The suspect is also dead.

"Tragically, the FBI lost two of our own today," FBI Director Christopher Wray said. He identified the two slain agents as Special Agent Daniel Alfin, 36, and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger, 43.

"Three other agents were shot and wounded," Wray said, adding, "Two suffered injuries requiring hospital care, but both are now in stable condition. The third injured agent did not require hospitalization."

The FBI director praised Alfin and Schwartzenberger for showing heroism in the line of duty, saying that the agency "will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery."

President Biden offered his condolences to the agents' loved ones. "Every family dreads the possibly of receiving that call," he said. "My heart aches for the families."

State Sen. Lauren Book, who is based in Broward County, where the raid occurred, and is also a survivor of child sexual abuse, echoed Wray's words.

Alfin and Schwartzenberger were heroes who were "working to keep children safe from sexual abuse and online exploitation — scourges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic," Book said in a statement to NPR.

"Our community will never forget these agents' bravery," Book said. "We are safer because of their service."

The violence erupted around 6 a.m. ET in the Water Terrace apartment complex in Sunrise, a city west of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County.

The raid involved a "team of law enforcement officers" who were executing a search warrant that was obtained through a federal court order, the FBI field office in Miami said.

"No Sunrise officers were wounded" in the operation, Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan told NPR.

Police in Sunrise warned of a "heavy police presence in the area" on Tuesday morning and urged residents to stay indoors. The massive law enforcement response included an FBI mobile command center and dozens of police patrol and tactical vehicles from multiple agencies. The police department later said that the area was safe but that an investigation was continuing.

Law enforcement officers formed rows outside the entrance to the Broward County medical examiner's office, saluting as a stretcher draped with the U.S. flag was wheeled inside.

Both of the federal agents were veterans of the fight against child pornography.

Alfin led the FBI's takedown of the "Playpen" dark-web site in 2015 — an unprecedented victory that resulted in hundreds of arrests in the U.S. and other countries.

"Kids are being abused, and it's our job to stop that," Alfin said at the time.

Schwartzenberger's cases included one in 2014 in which she extracted a confession from a man who admitted to using deception and extortion to obtain nude photos from teenage boys. In recent years, she also spoke to middle school students and media outlets about preventing cybercrime and sextortion scams.

Alfin is survived by his wife and one child, and Schwartzenberger by her husband and two children.

The FBI says the investigation into the shooting is being handled by its Inspection Division, which is responsible for internal investigations and reviews, as well as special inquiries ordered by the bureau's leadership.

The FBI Agents Association, whose members include more than 14,000 active and retired special agents, said that when the shooting occurred, the agents were carrying out a search warrant "to seize evidence in connection with suspected possession of child pornography."

"These Agents were working to protect the most vulnerable in our society," the association's president, Brian O'Hare, said in a statement. He pledged his organization's support for the agents' families.

NPR's Carrie Johnson contributed to this story.

This is a breaking news story. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.
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