By Eliott Rodriguez


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MIRAMAR (CBSMiami/AP) – Thirty years ago, FBI agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove died in a vicious gun battle with two heavily armed suspected bank robbers in Miami-Dade’s Suniland area, which is now part of Pinecrest. It’s described as the bloodiest shootout in FBI history.

On a street corner in Pinecrest Monday , a wreath was laid to remember the heroes of the FBI who died in the Miami Shootout on April 11, 1986.

Five agents were also wounded during the gun battle.

“Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove sacrificed their lives to save mine,” said retired agents Edmundo Mireles. “It’s a wonderful gift getting an entire 30 years of life.”

Mireles was seriously injured during the shootout, as was fellow agent John Hanlon.

Grogan was 53 when he died. He was a two-decade veteran nicknamed ‘The Doctor’ and was one year shy of retirement. Dove was 30 and had joined the agency four years earlier.

The so-called “Miami Shootout” involved two serial bank robbers at SW 82nd Avenue and 122nd Street. The suspects, William Matix and Michael Platt were also killed by one of the wounded FBI agents. More than 140 shots were fired.

It all started when agents Dove and Grogan spotted the suspects’ vehicle. A high speed chase ensued when the agents tried to stop the vehicle. When agents in three FBI vehicles finally managed to stop the suspects’ car, Matix and Platt came out firing.

The incident is infamous in FBI history and is well-studied in law enforcement circles. Despite outnumbering the suspects 4 to 1, the agents found themselves pinned down by heavy rifle fire and unable to respond effectively due to their much smaller service handguns. The suspects had a Ruger assault rifle, a shotgun and .357 caliber handguns. Although both Matix and Platt were hit multiple times during the firefight, Platt fought on and continued to injure and kill agents. This incident led to the introduction of more powerful handguns in many police departments around the country including more powerful semiautomatic weapons for all FBI agents.

“Although it was 30 years ago, it is something that will remain for us because it changed us,” said FBI Director James Comey. “It changed our equipment. It changed our training. It changed how we do our work.”

The 1988 movie “In the Line of Duty” re-created the blizzard of bullets in the “Miami Shootout.”

Some of the weapons used in the shootout are now on display at the FBI building in Miramar as part of a memorial that brought the FBI’s top man from Washington.

In 2001, the Village of Pinecrest honored the two agents by co-designating a portion of Southwest 82nd Avenue as Agent Benjamin Grogan Avenue and Agent Jerry Dove Avenue. Street signs and a historical marker commemorate the naming of the roadway in honor of the two agents.

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Eliott Rodriguez

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