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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2011 Digital Edition - Page 20

massad ayoob 25 Years after the fBI fIrefIght: the Late-emergIng situation:EightFBIagentsshootitoutwithtwowell-armed murderers,inalegendarygunbattle,whichchanged lawenforcementweaponryandtrainingalike. so.butaquartercenturylaterandwe’restill learningmorethatcankeepgoodpeoplealive, whentheyfaceevilincarnate. Lessons: Learningpointsthatwereinstantlyapparent,remain April11,1986.Arollingstakeoutsquadof14FBIagentswastrollingasectionofthe Miami,Fla.metroplexforarmedrobbersbelievedtohavecommittedmurder.TheirMO: befriend shooters in local “rock pits” used for informal target shooting, then kill them fortheirgunsandvehicles,whichtheywouldusetorobbanksandarmoredcars.Their most recent victim had played dead and survived, and they were looking for his black ChevroletMonteCarlowithknownlicenseplate.Alltheagentsknewitwasalongshot, but they were desperate enough to stop the perpetrators’ crime wave, and they were takinganyopportunitypossible. Againstallodds,SpecialAgentsBenGroganandJerryDovespottedthetargetvehicle. Four additional agents in 2-man unmarked cars were close enough to the scene to respondintimetohelpsurroundthesuspectvehicle,asweretwomoreagents,including the operation’s supervisor, each alone in an unmarked unit. Others on the assignment racedtogetthere,butonlyoneextracarwithtwoagentsaboardwouldarriveintimeto participateinthecataclysmicallyviolentencountertofollow. Itlastedforover4minutes.We’llneverknowexactlyhowmanyshotswerefired,for reasons we’ll discuss shortly. By the time the two bad guys were down and dead, two goodguysweretoo.Allbutoneofthesurvivingagentshadbeenwounded,threeofthem sustainingpermanentinjuries. I was in Miami a few weeks after the shooting, teaching at the Metro-Dade (now Miami-Dade)PoliceAcademy,andmyfriendDr.JoeDaviswaskindenoughtolecturein myclassaboutwhatwaslearnedonhisend.Dr.DaviswasthelegendaryChiefMedical Examiner for the community then, and the supervisor of Dr. Jay Barnhart, who performedtheactualautopsiesinthecase.IwasabletoreviewtheFBI’sdefinitiveLE-only trainingfilmontheincident, Firefight,assoonasitwasmadeavailable.Ireviewedthe exhaustivenewspaperreportsandreconstructionscontemporaneously. In 1989, I wrote an unprecedented double-length Ayoob Files on the incident and in 1992,another.Bythen,IhadsatatthefeetofSpecialAgentEdmundoMireles,thehero of the incident, for hours; exhaustively reviewed the tape of Supervisory SpecialAgent Gordon McNeill’s debrief on the incident for the New Hampshire Police Standards and TrainingAcademy;andattendedadetaileddebriefingbylegendarydetectiveDaveRivers, wholedtheinvestigationforMetro-DadeHomicide.Subsequently,theFBIfinallyreleased its files on the incident, and in the years since, researchers such as John Hearne have studiedthecaseingreatdepth.IhadtheopportunitytoseeHearne’sreconstructionat Continued on page 87 theNationalTacticalConferenceinMay2011. 20 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2011

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