Retired FBI agent Ellen Glasser, who’s now the mayor of Atlantic Beach, said the shooting that killed two FBI agents and injured three others Tuesday in South Florida hits close to home.
“I did not know any of these agents, but when something like this happens, the wound is really deep. It cuts deep, and it’s hard,” Glasser said.
Authorities say the shooting in Sunrise erupted Tuesday morning when the agents arrived to serve a federal search warrant at an apartment in a child pornography case.
Glasser knows what it’s like to serve a warrant at a home where you don’t know how the suspect may react.
“You’re thinking about, ‘Which way I will go when I enter the door? Which way is my colleague going to go?’ Things that are part of your everyday training. There’s adrenaline involved in it,” she said. “You can’t always plan for everything, and you don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the door with the bad guy and what that person’s state of mind is.”
She says the situation so intense that as a federal agent, you never let up until the scene is 100% secure.
The FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and federal marshals spend a great deal of time planning the execution of a warrant. Glasser says that planning includes intelligence gathering.
“They’re going to be looking at the neighborhood,” she said. “They’re be doing surveys of front doors, back doors, windows, that sort of thing. They’ll be surveillances to see who’s in the neighborhood and when is the safest time to do this.”
Federal agents partner with local, county and state law enforcement officers that back up the agents to make sure those agents are able to deal with a suspect who may be willing to put up a fight.
“You always want to be over-prepared for a situation because, again, you can’t account for everything. You can do the best you can,” Glasser said. “You just don’t know what you are going to be dealing with on the other side of that door.”
Tuesday’s shooting marked one of the bloodiest days in FBI history in South Florida and among the deadliest nationally as well, according to the FBI website. In 1986, bank robbers shot and killed two FBI agents and wounded five others in Miami.
“Make no mistake, it is a dangerous job, and every day when you get up and go to work, this may be your final day,” Glasser said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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