MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade College School of Justice students had the chance to listen to a firsthand account of one of the most infamous cases in the FBI.
The 1986 Miami FBI shootout happened almost 33 years ago in a formerly unincorporated region of Miami-Dade which is now Pinecrest.
Retired Special Agent Ed Mireles was one of eight FBI agents on the scene that day.
“You cannot base survival on luck,” he said standing at the front of the lecture hall. “You have to base it on tactics, planning.”
Mireles showed photos and recounted the sequence of events on April 11, 1986.
The FBI agents had assembled a rolling stakeout for a Black Monte Carlo, stolen by suspects Michael Platt and William Matix, because they suspected the duo inside would commit a robbery that morning.
Around 9:30 a.m. an FBI team spotted the car and began to follow it. Two other FBI teams then joined in.
They attempted to pull the driver over but the Monte Carlo collided the FBI cars which sent them nose first into a tree in front of a home on SW 82nd Avenue.
That’s when a deadly shootout started between eight FBI agents and two serial bank robbers and murderers.
“I wasn’t on planning on being heroic. That was the last thing on my mind,” Mireles said.
He played the frantic 911 call:
“How many shots?” asks the dispatcher.
He painted a scene of bloodshed, broken glass, and smoke from the crashed cars.
“If you had seen that and your friends were there,” Mireles said, “You would be motivated to action. I guarantee it.”
Agents Jerry Dove and Ben Grogan were killed in the attack. Mireles was shot twice, in the arm and in the head. Despite that, he still managed to fire the fatal shots that took down the shooters.
His left arm was shattered by gunfire, but he was able to prop the gun up on the back of a car and use just one arm to fire five rounds from his pump-action shotgun.
Mireles says this one event was responsible for changes in law enforcement training, tactics and even the firearms they use.
He said he shared his story to explain that while many things are left up to timing and chance, he encourages these future agents and officers to be prepared and always looking out for each other.
Mireles is a 25-year veteran of the FBI and the author of FBI Miami Firefight and Five Minutes that Changed the Bureau.