Laura Schwartzenberger was one of the two FBI special agents who lost their lives in the shooting of multiple FBI agents in Sunrise, Florida, on February 2. FBI Director Christopher Wray paid tribute to Schwartzenberger, 43, and Special Agent Daniel Alfin, 36, for exemplifying “heroism today in defense of their country.”
Wray said they were “shot and killed this morning in the line of duty while executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a crimes against children investigation in Sunrise, Florida.”
— FBI (@FBI) February 2, 2021
He said five FBI agents were shot in the incident at an apartment complex, but the other three wounded agents are expected to survive.
The suspect was named as David Lee Huber, a computer consultant.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Schwartzenberger, a Member of an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Was Remembered for Her Bravery
The Miami Herald reported that Schwartzenberger and Alfin were both “veteran agents of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program.” In a 2020 criminal affidavit, Schwartzenberger wrote that she had been with the FBI since 2005 and had been assigned to the Innocent Images National Initiative Miami outpost, “which investigates the online sexual exploitation of children,” the Miami Herald wrote.
In his statement, Wray said the FBI “lost two of our own today.” He said Schwartzenberger and Alfin were killed in the line of duty, saying they “put themselves in harm’s way to keep the American people safe.”
Wray continued: “Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger exemplified heroism today in defense of their country. The FBI will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery.”
FBI Director Chris Wray: "Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger, were shot and killed this morning in the line of duty while executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a crimes against children investigation in Sunrise, Florida.” pic.twitter.com/Ct7USw2ihm
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) February 2, 2021
He added, “We continue to stand by our FBI Family, and the families of these Special Agents, in the days to come, bringing every resource we can to get through this together.”
NBC Miami reported that three additional FBI agents were injured, two of whom were transported to the hospital and were in stable condition. Wray confirmed that information.
The Miami Herald reported that the suspect saw the agents coming through a doorbell camera and opening fire through a door.
2. Schwartzenberger Was Helping Serve a Warrant in a Crimes Against Children Investigation
— 10 Tampa Bay (@10TampaBay) February 2, 2021
FBI agents were “executing a federal court-ordered search warrant in a crimes against children investigation” at the time of the shooting, Wray said in his statement. The suspected shooter’s name has not yet been released.
The Miami Herald reported that the man, who the FBI suspected possessed child pornography, barricaded himself in an apartment before agents believe he shot and killed himself. According to the Herald, the agents were executing a “routine search warrant to seize the suspect’s computer and other evidence.”
They had matched an internet protocol to the suspect, the newspaper reported.
3. Schwartzenberger Spoke to Middle School Students About Cyber Safety & Gave an Interview About a ‘Sextortion’ Scam
A 2016 tweet from a Florida middle school indicated Schwartzenberger spoke to children at the school about cyber safety. “Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger giving a lesson on cyber safety in Law Studies!” the tweet said. It included an array of photos showing Schwartzenberger speaking to and posing for a photograph with the children.
In 2020, she spoke at the school again. “Great to have FBI Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger join us to present to our 6th Grade Legal Studies & Forensic Science students about online safety and cyber crimes!” a tweet in February read.
Great to have FBI Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger join us to present to our 6th Grade Legal Studies & Forensic Science students about online safety and cyber crimes! @MDCPSCentral @FBIMiamiFL @FBI @miamimagnets pic.twitter.com/sJ906w1Wdc
— Rockway MS (@rmsfalcons) February 13, 2020
In 2018, Schwartzenberger spoke to a local CBS affiliate about a “sextortion” scam in which criminals claimed they had hacked into people’s webcams and demanded money, saying they would release compromising images or videos of the victim. “It is very traumatizing for the victim,” Schwartzenberger told the station in that interview. “Their reputation is on the line.”
She warned, “There has been cases where they’ve hacked into the victim’s computer and hacked the person’s camera. That is where they got images or videos.”
In a 2020 criminal affidavit, according to the Miami Herald, Schwartzenberger wrote, “I have conducted and assisted in several child exploitation investigations and have executed search warrants that have led to seizures of child pornography.”
4. The Bodies of Schwartzenberger & Alfin Were Accompanied to the Medical Examiner’s Office by an Honor Guard
SOMBER SALUTE: 2 FBI agents were killed in the line of duty during a shootout while serving a warrant in Sunrise. The bodies were given a full escort to the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office. 3 more agents were injured in the shooting. @WPLGLocal10 #News pic.twitter.com/MTS016qsSI
— Terrell Forney (@TerrellWPLG) February 2, 2021
Videos and photos emerged of the slain agents’ bodies being taken to the medical examiner’s office with an honor guard accompanying them.
One video showed one of the deceased agents being taken into the building, body covered with an American flag. You can watch that video here.
The Sunrise Police Department tweeted, “There is currently heavy police presence in the area of 4200 Nob Hill Rd. Nob Hill Rd is closed from NW 44th St to West Oakland Park Blvd in both directions. Please use an alternate route.”
They added, “The scene is safe but due to the ongoing investigation, affected neighborhoods in the area of Water Terrace on Nob Hill Road are still asked to remain at their homes until we are able to open Nob Hill Rd for travel. Thank you for your patience as understanding.”
Earlier, they tweeted, “8:40am: We ask that residents in the community, Water Terrace remain in their homes. Law Enforcement still has the entrances blocked at this time. Thank you for your patience.”
5. The Shootings Took Place at an Upscale Apartment Complex
— FOX 13 News Utah (@fox13) February 2, 2021
According to CNN, the shootings took place at the Water Terrace apartment complex at 6:04 a.m. The apartment complex website describes “recently upgraded” apartments with “calming lake views and fresh air,” featuring “gourmet kitchens, brilliant cabinetry, gorgeous countertops” and more, plus two pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, picnic areas and “privacy gates.”
Sunrise, Florida, is located near Fort Lauderdale.
This story will be updated as more information is learned.
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