Alfin was killed in a hail of bullets Tuesday along with agent Laura Schwartzenberger while serving a warrant to a child pornography suspect in Sunrise.
This weekend, agents and law enforcement officers from around the country converged on Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens to honor and remember them both — Schwartzenberger on Saturday and Alfin on Sunday.
At 36, Alfin leaves behind a wife, Jessie, and 4-year-old son Eli.
Schwartzenberger, who was 43, leaves behind two sons.
“On Tuesday, we lost not one of our own, but two,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told a tearful crowd. “Two warriors who took on one of the hardest jobs in the FBI: crimes against children.”
Both agents were called true American heroes by Wray, who said they ranked among the agency’s finest.
“Dan’s legacy is one of passion, dedication and principle,” Wray said. “If Laura were here today, I’m sure she would agree that she and Dan were cut from the same patriotic cloth.”
Born in New York, Alfin joined the FBI’s Albany office in 2009. He transferred to Miami in 2017 and had been investigating crimes against children for seven years.
As an agent, one of Alfin’s crowning achievements involved investigating one of the country’s largest child porn operations on the dark web. Alfin took a lead role in the case — a case that led to children across the nation being rescued and arrests for an estimated 900 child pornographers worldwide.
A persistent spirit
Alfin was not a fan of New York’s cold Albany winters and eventually made his way to the “glorious” sunshine of Miami, Wray said.
In May 2019, Alfin became a rescue diver with the Underwater Search and Evidence Recovery Team, embarking on seven underwater forensic searches in just a short time.
Before the memorial began, a slideshow of photos played on a screen showing Alfin in his various roles: in scuba gear during training exercises; in a suit and tie; posing with friends at a restaurant; laughing and smiling with fellow agents.
Alfin was known for his tenacity and never-quit energy. As a new agent, he quickly taught the seasoned agents a thing or two, Wray said.
The children he helped — many of whom he never even met — are safe today and have a chance for a better life because of Alfin, that dogged FBI agent behind the scenes, Wray said.
“He’ll be remembered for his doggedness and his persistence,” Wray said. “His family and friends say he didn’t know how to quit.”
Alfin was usually the smartest guy in the room, Wray said.
“Being an FBI agent is one of most coveted and prestigious jobs,” Wray said. “It demands bravery and integrity … Dan was living his best life. And he set an inspiring example for each and every one of us.”
That life was cut tragically short on Tuesday when five agents were hit by a rain of bullets outside the Sunrise apartment of David Lee Huber, a father of two who turned the gun on himself after the attack. Alfin and Schwartzenberger were mortally wounded, making it the deadliest violent incident for the bureau since 1986 and the first shooting death of an agent since 2008.
“Today there is a heaviness in our hearts,” Wray said. “It’s the news we pray will never come. And when it does every FBI agent feels it deep down in their soul.”
Alfin was doing what he loved, Wray said, and that was working to keep America safe, to “slay the monsters most of us would never want to meet.”
His mission might have required him to dive into the dark world of child pornography, yet he somehow managed to stay hopeful and optimistic, Wray said.
“Dan will always be remembered for his big heart,” Wray said. “He was the one who always had your back, no matter what.”
Alfin gave all for his country, dying in the line of duty.
Father James Quinn, chaplain for the FBI’s field office in Miami, called him a peacemaker as well as a peacekeeper.
“This is everyone’s loss, yours and mine, everyone’s together,” he said, addressing Alfin’s family. “We all stand together in our grief. Together we are doing what we can to hold each other up. That’s why we are here today.”
His memory will live on
Denis Alfin spoke through tears, thanking the law enforcement community for honoring his brother and risking their own lives every day.
The family will always remember the good times — fishing on the lake, trips to the beach, birthday dinners at Benihana, he said.
“In honoring Daniel today … we are collectively ensuring his memory lives on,” his brother said. “While today we say goodbye to Daniel’s body, we will never say goodbye to his soul.”
Wray reminded them they will always be part of the FBI family — and promised Alfin will not be forgotten after making the ultimate sacrifice.
Said Wray: “We in the FBI will work every day to honor him by carrying his legacy forward.”