FBI Miami Field Office:Building Naming & Dedication
April 10, 2015
FBI Miami Shoot-Out of April 11, 1986
On the morning of April 11, 1986, one of the deadliest and most violent shoot-outs in FBI history unfolded just outside of the city of Miami. FBI agents were leading a massive manhunt for two violent bank robbers—later identified as William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt —who were known for using high-powered firearms and stolen cars. They had murdered several people since the previous October and Metro Dade police and the FBI were closing in on them.
Miami Special Agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove were riding together in one of the five pursuing Bureau cars when they noticed a stolen, black Chevrolet connected to the two robbers and began following it. Also in close pursuit and riding alone, Special Agent Richard Manauzzi tried to steer the stolen car into a tree near 12201 SW 82nd Avenue when he noticed one of the criminals aiming a weapon toward pursuing FBI agents. Three Bureau cars collided with the suspects and forced them off the road. The felons opened fire.
The events unfolded quickly and horrifically. Special Agent Manauzzi was seriously wounded and immediately sought cover. Special Agent Gordon McNeill—also riding alone—was wounded, but returned fire, striking Matix. Special Agents Gilbert Orrantia and Ronald Risner were pinned in their vehicle on the other side of the street; Orrantia was wounded. Special Agents Edmundo Mireles and John Hanlon had also stopped their car on the opposite side of the street and came under heavy rifle fire as they tried to approach the felons. Both were seriously wounded. Special Agents Dove and Grogan—despite wounding both criminals —were trapped in their car and killed by Platt at close range. Platt also shot and incapacitated Agent Hanlon.
Severely wounded and struggling to remain conscious, Special Agent Mireles stood up and began firing at the criminals as they tried to escape, killing both men.
In the end, the FBI’s casualties were higher than any shoot-out in its history: two dead, five wounded with only Agent Risner unhurt.
In the aftermath of the five-minute gun battle, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies closely studied the incident. As a result of this tragedy, the FBI made significant changes in the firearms carried by agents, the body armor they wore, and the incident response training they received.
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