2 FBI agents killed in Florida



Photo courtesy of wane.com

Jazmin Velenczei, Web Editor

FBI special agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, who devoted their careers to investigating crimes against children, were killed at an apartment complex in a shootout, executing a federal search warrant on February 4. Three other agents were wounded, two of whom were transported to the hospital and have since been released. Since the suspect in the shooting died at the scene, the FBI has said that the investigation is ongoing.

The two special agents went to an upscale apartment in Sunrise to serve a search warrant. An operation like this usually involves local police blocking streets and adding legitimacy. The FBI hasn’t said much about the warrant, other than it was ordered by a federal court relating to a case of violent crimes against children. Unfortunately, the details about what led to the gunfire aren’t available. The FBI stated that the serving of warrants usually ends without incidents, but the profusion of child pornography, “We are getting more people who are reacting violently unpredictably to a search warrant.”

The two agents were known for their exemplary efforts in the field, curbing child abuse with their investigatory work and educating students to the perils of sex crimes. Miami FBI Special Agent in Charge George Pilo described the shooting and the loss of the agents as “a very dark day for the FBI” and “our chosen profession is fraught with danger. Today this grim reality has taken two of our best from our family.”

 Alfin was a New York native and started his FBI career in Albany in 2009. Eight years later, he was assigned to the Miami office, investigating crimes against children. According to FBI documents, he had testified on more than 20 occasions as a witness, across more than 10 federal jurisdictions. Furthermore, he played a critical role in a massive investigation that led to hundreds of child pornography arrests in 2017. The case was described by the FBI as “highly sophisticated, global enterprise dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children, organized via a members-only website that operated on the dark web.” Alfin and his team’s investigation resulted in the arrests of at least 350 people based in the US, the prosecution of 25 producers of child pornography, the arrests of 51 hands-on-abusers, and the identification of rescue of 55 American children, the FBI said. Alfin had one child and a wife.

Schwartzenberger served in the Miami office since 2010 and worked on cases of crimes against children for more than seven years. She also worked in the community to educate school children about protecting themselves and others online. Rockway Middle School, where she had talked to assemblies, expressed its remorse in a statement: “As an FBI agent, Laura taught our students each year about the dangers of social media and much more. She would always say ‘I feel that coming here and talking about the hard stuff means that I won’t see you guys on my end.’” She would always answer all the students’ questions directly with care to always remind them of the real world. Laura had two children and a husband.