In the bloodiest day for the FBI in decades, two veteran agents were shot to death and three others wounded Tuesday morning when a gunman opened fire from inside his home as they attempted to serve a search warrant at an apartment in Sunrise as part of a child-pornography probe.
The gunman, not yet identified by the FBI, is believed to have monitored the approach of the agents with a doorbell camera and ambushed them through the unopened door with a hail of bullets from an assault-style rifle, law enforcement sources told the Miami Herald.
“There are several huge holes in the door going outward,” one law enforcement official said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro, in a statement read Tuesday evening at the FBI’s Miramar field office, did not address why the FBI’s tactical unit was not initially called in to assist before the raid.
Piro also said the gunman, believed to have taken his own life after barricading himself in the first-floor apartment, would not be identified publicly until his family is notified of his death.
Gunfire exploded just before 6 a.m. on Tuesday at the Water Terrace apartment complex in Sunrise in a neighborhood about five miles northeast of the Sawgrass Mills mall.
The FBI had not provided details of the case against the gunman, other than to say he was suspected of possessing illegal graphic images of children. The case was being investigated by the FBI’s Internet Crimes against Children task force, and supervised by prosecutors based in Fort Lauderdale
The FBI obtained the internet protocol address for the suspect’s computer from an internet service provider and then matched that with the suspect’s physical address. Depending on the evidence found in the suspect’s home, the FBI and federal prosecutors would have likely filed a criminal complaint charging him with some type of child pornography offense, sources said.
After shooting the agents, the suspect barricaded himself inside the apartment, while the FBI agents called for back-up help from a heavily armed tactical SWAT unit. Coincidentally, there was a Broward Sheriff’s office SWAT unit in the area Tuesday morning assisting in the arrest of another child-porn suspect — but one not targeted in the FBI operation. The unit rushed to the scene, sources said, and was able to extract at least one of the wounded agents