morning, and thank you, Jon, for that kind introduction.
I am honored to join you for this memorial service.
behalf of Director Mueller and the entire FBI, I want
to thank all of you for being here today. While 20
years have passed, clearly the memory of this event
and its impact on your communities, agencies, and
the FBI remains strong.
also want to join Jon in acknowledging those here
who participated in what we now call the Miami Shootout—John
Hanlon, Ed Mireles, and Gilbert Orrantia. I want to
welcome Nancy Risner, the wife of Ron Risner as well.
years ago today, those four special agents, along
with their colleagues, Richard Manauzzi, Jerry Dove,
Ben Grogan, and Gordon McNeill, engaged in one of
the most intense gun battles in the 98-year history
of the FBI. In the end, two agents—Jerry Dove
and Ben Grogan—were dead, five others were wounded,
and two suspects were also killed.
story of April 11, 1986, though, is not one just of
tragedy—it is one of triumph and transformation
as well. Those few minutes on that Friday morning
have an impact on us to this day.
it is important to remember that the shootout occurred
in part because this team of special agents, led by
Gordon McNeill, the supervisor, and Ben Grogan, the
case agent, were very good at their jobs. They had
developed critical information on two suspects in
several bank robberies, shootings, and murders. They
knew what car they were looking for and they knew
when and in what area the suspects were most likely
to strike. They were doing 20 years ago what we call
intelligence and predictive analysis.
was not an accident that our agents and the suspects
encountered each other that day.
they did collide, the professionalism and bravery
of the agents was especially notable. They initiated
the felony car stop that precipitated the gun battle
in an area where the risk of harm to innocent civilians
was lower. In the face of superior firepower, they
stood together and defended each other.
about five minutes and with more than 130 rounds fired
between the two sides, it was Special Agent Mireles
who, despite being severely wounded, ended the shootout
as the suspects attempted to escape in an FBI car.
For his actions, Ed Mireles was awarded the first
ever FBI Medal of Valor.
the two suspects had been killed, we suffered our
own devastating losses.
Director William Webster said it well about agents
Dove and Grogan when he said that they "gave
the last full measure of devotion." Dove, the
Bureau rookie who long dreamed of working at the FBI,
and Grogan, the 23-year veteran, died doing what they
had been called to do—protecting the security
of their fellow citizens.
is no doubt that saving lives is what Dove and Grogan—and
their colleagues—did that day. The suspects
were responsible for as many as five previous murders,
more shootings, and numerous robberies. They were
an ominous threat to the community, and they were
taken off the streets for good.
also undoubtedly saved future lives were the lessons
learned that day—lessons that transformed law
enforcement tactics and training. Most immediately,
special agents were issued semi-automatic handguns
to replace the revolvers that many of the agents carried
that day. Training for law enforcement officers also
improved, as more realistic scenarios for firearms
training were developed and the psychological effects
of getting shot at were studied. We all owe a debt
of gratitude to agents Mireles and McNeill for the
work they have done in these areas.
11 remains truly a day of significance for the FBI
and for law enforcement. And it remains a powerful
reminder of the dangers we face, and of our capacity
to do the extraordinary under the most extreme circumstances.
Its impact, particularly on training and tactics for
similar situations continues to this day.
of all, its outcome is a tribute to eight men who
did their job and never wavered from their duty. As
we mark the 20th anniversary of the Miami Shootout,
we remember those we lost that day, those who have
passed on since, and thank all of them for their remarkable
service to this community, the FBI, and the nation.