FBI Shooting

Nearly 35 Years Before Sunrise Shooting, A Similar FBI Tragedy in South Florida

Agents Jerry Dove and Benjamin Grogan killed in April 11, 1986 shootout in Pinecrest

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Tuesday's tragic FBI shooting in Sunrise comes nearly 35 years after a similar South Florida shootout that also left two agents dead and led to changes in the weapons, body armor and tactics throughout law enforcement nationwide.

The April 11, 1986 shootout in what was then unincorporated Miami-Dade County and is now Pinecrest took the lives of agents Jerry L. Dove and Benjamin P. Grogan and left five other agents wounded, in one of the single bloodiest days in FBI history.

Dove, Grogan and the other agents became engaged in a firefight with suspects Michael Lee Platt, a former Army Ranger in Vietnam, and William Russell Matix, who were suspected of several killings and violent bank robberies.

Among the suspects' weapons was a Ruger Mini-14 rifle that outmatched anything the FBI agents had on hand, leaving the agents pinned down amid 130 rounds of gunfire lasting about five minutes. The suspects were finally stopped by wounded Agent Edmundo Mireles firing a pump shotgun and handgun as the two tried to steal a car to escape, according to the FBI's history of the event.

That shotgun, the robbers' weapons and the FBI credentials of Dove and Grogan are part of a memorial display inside the Miramar FBI building that was dedicated to Dove and Grogan back in 2016, on the 30th anniversary of the shootout, at a ceremony attended by then FBI Director James Comey.

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Roses are seen placed near a memorial plaque during a ceremony for all agents killed on duty thirty years after FBI agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove died in a gun battle with two heavily armed suspected bank robbers in Miami-Dade county on April 11, 2016 in Miramar, Florida. The shootout left five other agents wounded and the two serial bank robbers were killed by one of the wounded FBI agents. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Comey said the gunbattle showed U.S. law enforcement drastically needed to update equipment and training to face criminals who were increasingly using military-grade weapons. Soon after, FBI agents began carrying easier-to-reload semiautomatic handguns rather than revolvers.

Details were still coming in on Tuesday's shooting in Sunrise, which left two veteran FBI agents dead and three wounded.

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