FBI agents killed in Florida spent years fighting crimes against children: "It’s our job to stop that"

More details are emerging about the two FBI agents who were shot and killed when they arrived to search an apartment in a child pornography case in Florida on Tuesday. FBI Director Christopher A. Wray identified the two slain agents as Laura Schwartzenberger and Daniel Alfin, both of whom specialized in investigating crimes against children.

Three other officers were wounded in the shooting. The suspect also died.

The shootings marked one of the bloodiest days in FBI history in South Florida and among the deadliest nationally as well, according to the FBI website. Schwartzenberger, a native of Pueblo, Colorado, is the third female agent to die in the line of duty outside of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, CBS Denver reports.

Schwartzenberger, 43, had been an agent with the FBI since December 2005 and worked in the Miami field office on a squad of agents handling violent crimes against children, according to court records. Her work primarily focused on tracking offenders who sexually exploit children online and investigating other crimes against children. Schwartzenberger is survived by a husband and two children, said George Piro, who leads the FBI’s Miami field office, said at a news conference.

CBS affiliate WPEC-TV spoke with Schwartzenberg in 2018 for an investigative piece on sex extortion. In 2013, she also spoke to CBS Miami about catching those who exploit others, including children.

“Extortion is a form of exploitation in which the perpetrator uses coercion in which to obtain sexual images or videos, money, or even sex from the victim. The victim can be an adult, could be a teenager, or could be a child,” she said.

Alfin, 36, who also investigated child exploitation cases, had previously worked at FBI headquarters handling major cases involving violent crimes against children, according to court records. He had a degree in information technology and went through the FBI’s specialized training programs for cybercrimes. He was involved in a major child exploitation investigation dubbed Playpen that resulted in arrests around the world. 

“It’s the same with any criminal violation,” Alfin said in 2017 about the Playpen case. “As they get smarter, we adapt, we find them. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, except it’s not a game. Kids are being abused, and it’s our job to stop that.”

Alfin is survived by a wife and child, Piro said.  

Alfin’s brother is a sergeant with the Coral Springs Police Department and his sister-in-law is with Pembroke Pines PD, CBS Miami reported.

Alfin began his FBI career at the Albany FBI office in 2009 before leaving in 2014, CBS affiliate WRGB-TV reported. In a statement, the Albany office said it was “heartbroken,” calling Alfin an incredible agent.

After the shootings Tuesday, police motorcycles with their lights flashing escorted a fire rescue truck as it brought the body of one of the agents to the medical examiner’s office in nearby Dania Beach. Law enforcement officials from numerous agencies lined up to pay their respects as a flag-covered body was removed from the vehicle and taken inside.

“Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger exemplified heroism today in defense of their country,” Wray said in a statement. “The FBI will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery.”  

President Joe Biden offered his condolences during an immigration event at the White House.

“They put their lives on the line and that’s a hell of a price to pay,” he said of the agents. “My heart aches for the families.”

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