April 11, 1986 | FBI Miami Shootout

 
 

“Felony car stop, take them, felony car stop, let’s do it.”

—FBI SA Benjamin Grogan, final radio transmission

On the morning of April 11, eight Special Agents (SA) from the FBI Miami Division were patrolling the suburban streets southwest of Miami looking for a stolen black Chevy Monte Carlo that they believed was connected to five armed bank and armored car robberies. In what an agent later described as one of the luckiest and unluckiest events of his life—they found it.

William R. Matix and Michael Lee Platt had stolen the Monte Carlo to use in another armed robbery. When they spotted the FBI surveillance, they tried to get away and were seen by agents readying their weapons. SA Benjamin Grogan and SA Jerry Dove called for a felony car stop while SA Richard Manauzzi forced the Monte Carlo off the road pinning it against a tree and some parked cars.

Matix and Platt immediately began firing, wounding Supervisory SA Gordon G. McNeill, SA Richard Manauzzi, and SA Edmundo Mireles in the first seconds of the fight. The entire firefight lasted about five minutes and about 145 rounds were fired. SA John F. Hanlon and SA Gilbert Orrantia were also wounded during the fight. SA Benjamin Grogan and SA Jerry Dove were killed. The devastation was wrought primarily by Platt’s Ruger Mini-14 .223 caliber rifle, which fired at least 40 rounds.

Though Matix and Platt were shot multiple times, they continued to fire and commandeered Dove and Grogan’s vehicle. Before they could escape, SA Mireles, severely wounded in the left arm, fired four rounds of buckshot from his Remington Model 870 pump shotgun at Matix and Platt. He then drew his service revolver and, approaching the vehicle, fired six rounds at the suspects through the front window of the car, killing them.

The autopsy investigation showed that Matix had been shot six times and Platt had been shot twelve times. Some of Matix and Platt’s wounds were received at the start of the shootout. Along with tactics and training, the shootout caused the FBI to evaluate the stopping power of their service handguns and the difficulty of reloading a revolver under fire. The FBI’s switch to semiautomatic handguns triggered a shift for agencies across the country to semiautomatic pistols.