MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The FBI community is mourning the loss of two of its agents, killed in a shootout with a suspect Tuesday morning in Sunrise, Florida.
Federal agents were delivering a court-ordered search warrant to a man when gunshots rang out. When it was over two FBI agents were killed, three more wounded. The gunman eventually killed himself.
The unfolding drama and the horror of it all were felt much closer to home, right here in the River Region. Retired Montgomery policeman Tony Garrett couldn’t help but empathize with what the FBI was going through.
“I can remember I’ve been shot at at least 10 times,” Garrett explained. “Each search warrant is different.”
Garrett, who now runs the Central Alabama CrimeStoppers organization, knows all too well the fear and trepidation the agents felt before serving the warrant on a child pornography suspect.
He saw it all during his 21 years with the Montgomery Police Department.
“What we tell the new police officers is if you don’t have any fear, something is wrong and you’re going to get someone hurt,” he said.
At the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Bill Franklin said what most people don’t realize is that long before that nerve-wracking knock on the door, there is training, a review of what needs to happen. And then, there’s a prayer.
“And once we have our prayer, we get in our vehicles and go,” said Franklin.
Sometimes there is a ‘no-knock’ order, meaning the SWAT team just plows through the door, depending on the seriousness of the allegations.
“And they’re the most dangerous ones because it is what it is and you have to break down the door,” Garrett explained.
What happened in Sunrise is a brutal reminder that it can happen anywhere and at anytime. It’s the unpredictability of it all that makes it all so inherently dangerous.
“We’ve had cases where people are hiding under the bed and they come out wanting to fight,” Franklin stated.
While Sunrise is more than 600 miles away from the River Region, the tragic loss of two lives feels much closer to home for two veteran lawmen, too close for comfort.