Mike Garbo was identified by law enforcement colleagues as the federal DEA agent who was shot and killed in the Tucson Amtrak shooting in Arizona. He was remembered as a former Nashville, Tennessee, police officer with years of experience fighting violent crime.
According to KOLD.com, Garbo was identified in tributes by several law enforcement colleagues. Authorities have not yet named the agent, who was slain on October 4, 2021. He was then identified by the DEA.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram described Garbo as “universally loved and respected for his leadership.”
“The DEA is deeply saddened to report that DEA Group Supervisor Michael G. Garbo died as a result of injuries sustained during the shooting,” she said in a release, according to AZ Central. “Group Supervisor Garbo joined DEA in 2005 and served honorably for more than 16 years as a Special Agent and Group Supervisor combatting criminal drug traffickers from the Nogales corridor to Kabul, Afghanistan.” On LinkedIn, he said he was a special agent with the DEA for 16 years.
“Great officer and man,” a friend who knew Garbo wrote on Facebook. “He was such a great guy. Always so nice. I’ll be praying for his family and friends,” wrote another who knew him.
In addition to Garbo’s death, another DEA agent and Tucson police officer were injured in a shooting at the Amtrak train station in downtown Tucson, police said.
“Yesterday’s horrific shooting impacted the Tucson community and law enforcement family across Arizona. We mourn the loss of a heroic DEA Agent and ask that you keep his family, friends, and fellow agents in your hearts and prayers,” Tucson police said in a statement.
“We are thankful for our partners at Banner University Medical Center, who are treating the injured DEA Agent and TPD Officer and to the Tucson community for their support. We are grateful and proud of our officers, who ran towards the sound of gunfire.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Garbo’s Death Was Describes as a ‘Huge Loss’
Derek Maltz Sr. was one of those offering tribute to Garbo on Twitter. Maltz described himself as “Former Director, Special Ops Div. 28 yrs in fed law enf. Nat security and public safety executive.”
“Another tragedy for law enforcement. Everyday the brave warriors hit the streets to keep us all safe. Yesterday, @DEAPHOENIXDiv suffered a huge loss when GS Mike Garbo, SA Fox and a Task Force Officer from Tucson PD were shot. Sadly GS Garbo died from the attack.
RIP 🇺🇸🙏” he wrote.
According to Tucson police, the shooting occurred during a Counter Narcotics Alliance investigation that was doing a routine check for items like drugs and guns on the train. The suspect, a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, opened fire when CNA contacted him and later died.
Mayor Regina Romero wrote in a statement, “The shooting that took place this morning at our downtown train station was an absolutely shocking act of violence. I am ordering flags at all city facilities to half staff to honor the courageous actions of the deceased and the injured.”
The DEA said in a tweet, “This morning, 2 DEA special agents & a DEA task force officer from @Tucson_Police were shot during an operation in Tucson, AZ. One special agent died as a result of the shooting. A 2nd special agent is in critical condition. The DEA task force officer is in stable condition.”
A Colleague Wrote That Garbo, Who Was Previously a Nashville Police Officer, Was ‘a Good Friend…an Excellent Police Officer
Steve Antle, a retired police officer, described Garbo as a “good friend, a very nice guy, and an excellent police officer.”
“Just heard the DEA Agent killed in Tucson, AZ today was a former Metro Police Officer I worked with for years. Mike Garbo was a good friend, a very nice guy, and an excellent police officer,” he wrote.
“During his training with MNPD, he was a natural at law enforcement…He joined Metro Nashville Police a couple years after I did.. Several years ago he moved on from Metro to join the DEA as an Agent. His career was on a fast track and he was an exceptional Agent. His loss is not only one for the MNPD and DEA family, but for our Nation…He died protecting us from the flow of illegal drugs coming into the US. In my book, he is a hero. His loss is a shock for me and all of our MNPD family both current and retired. May he rest in peace.”
Garbo, a Father, Was a Former SWAT Officer Who Once ‘Neutralized’ a Bank Robber in a ‘Running Gun Battle,’ a Friend Wrote
Melvin Brown, who is from Nashville, gave a brief biography of Garbo on Facebook.
“He was in MNPD Session 25 in 1993 and SWAT Basic & Advanced in 1996. An original member of the first FLEX team (SATURATION PATROL) that first deployed 10/31/95 in the Lutie Street area in response to Laotian Gang activity,” Brown wrote of Garbo.
“He began jujutsu training before UFC 1 and was one of my favorite weekly sparring partners for many years. He was a Metro SWAT Team member that met and neutralized a bank robber in a running gun battle that killed a police canine in 1998 and received The MNPD Distinguished Service Medal & NAPO Top Cops Award in Washington DC. He and other team mates joined the DEA. He was a Father. He was our friend and colleague and will never be forgotten. 🇺🇸👊.”
A man wrote on Brown’s thread, “That ’98 bank robber gun battle with you Melvin Brown and him was something for the books that will never be written. I used to good-naturedly argue with him that he was a living and breathing hero. Of course he told me to eff off.”