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Template:Infobox civilian attack The FBI Miami shootout was a gun battle that occurred on 11 April 1986 in Miami, Florida between eight Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and two serial bank robbers. The firefight claimed the lives of Special Agents Jerry L. Dove and Benjamin P. Grogan. The two robbery suspects, William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt were also killed. In addition, five FBI agents were wounded in the incident.

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 rifle fire and unable to respond effectively. Although both Matix and Platt were hit multiple times during the firefight, Platt fought on and continued to injure and kill officers. This incident led to the introduction of more powerful handguns in many police departments around the country.

BackgroundEdit

Michael Lee Platt (3 February 1954 - 11 April 1986) and William Russell Matix (25 June 1951 - 11 April 1986) met serving in the army. Matix served in the Marine Corps from 1969–1972 and was honorably discharged. In 1973, Matix then enlisted in the army and served in the military police. Matix was honorably discharged from the army in 1976. Platt enlisted in the army in 1972 as an infantryman and served with the US Army Rangers. He was honorably discharged in 1979. The pair met while they were stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Both men had been previously married to women who had died under mysterious circumstances.[1] Matix's wife, Patricia Buchanich, was stabbed to death along with a co-worker on 30 December 1983 at the hospital where she was employed. Matix was a suspect in her murder but was never charged.[2] After his wife's death Matix moved to Miami at the urging of Michael Platt. After relocating to Miami, Matix began a landscaping business with Platt.[3] In December 1984, Platt's wife Regina was found shot dead with a shotgun. Her death was ruled a suicide.[4]

Prior to embarking on their crime spree neither Platt nor Matix had a criminal record.[5]

On 5 October 1985, Platt and Matix murdered 25 year-old Emelio Briel while he was target shooting at a rock pit. The pair stole Briel's car and used it to commit several robberies. Briel's remains were found on 1 March 1986 but were not positively identified until May 1986.

On 16 October 1985, Platt and Matix attempted to rob a Wells Fargo armored truck in front of a Winn Dixie supermarket. One of the pair shot a guard in the leg with a shotgun. Two other guards returned fire. Neither Platt nor Matix was injured. No money was taken in the botched robbery.

On 8 November 1985, Platt and Matix robbed a teller station outside a branch of the Florida National Bank. 90 minutes later, Platt and Matix robbed a branch of the Professional Savings Bank. The pair used Briel's car in the second robbery.

On 10 January 1986, Platt and Matix robbed a Brinks armored truck. One suspect shot the guard with a shotgun while the other shot him with a rifle. The guard survived. Platt and Matix used Briel's car in this incident. The pair were followed from the scene by a citizen who saw them switch to a white Ford F-150 pick up truck.

On 12 March 1986, Platt and Matix robbed and shot Jose Collazo while Collazo was target shooting at a rock pit. The pair left Collazo for dead and stole his car, a black 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Collazo survived the shooting and walked three miles to get help.[6]

On 19 March 1986, the pair used Collazo's car to rob the Barnett Bank at 13595 South Dixie Highway.

The shootoutEdit

File:1986 FBI Miami shootout relative positions of vehicles edited.jpg

At 8:45 a.m on 11 April 1986, a team of FBI agents led by Special Agent Gordon McNeill assembled at a Home Depot to initiate a rolling stakeout searching for the black Monte Carlo. The agents did not know the identity of the suspects at the time. They were acting on a hunch that the pair would attempt a robbery that morning. A total of fourteen FBI agents in eleven cars participated in the search. Nine FBI agents took part in the actual shootout and were paired as follows;

  • Supervisory Special Agent Gordon McNeill alone in his car
  • Special Agent Richard Manauzzi alone in his car
  • Special Agent Benjamin Grogan
  • Special Agent Jerry Dove
  • Special Agent Edmundo Mireles, Jr.
  • Special Agent John Hanlon
  • Special Agent Gilbert Orrantia
  • Special Agent Ronald Risner

Around 9:30 a.m., agents Grogan and Dove spotted the suspect vehicle, and began to follow. Two other stakeout team cars joined them, and eventually an attempt was made to conduct a felony traffic stop of the suspects, who were forced off the road in a collision with FBI cars driven by agents Grogan, John Hanlon and Richard Manauzzi, sending them into a tree in front of a house at 12201 Southwest 82nd Avenue. Some of the team's agents, who were armed M-16 rifles, were not at the scene. Of the agents at the scene, two had shotguns in their vehicles (McNeil and Mireles), three were armed with semi-automatic 9mm pistols (Dove, Grogan, and Risner), and the rest were armed with revolvers.

The initial collision that forced the suspects off the road caused some unforeseen problems for the agents, as the FBI vehicles sustained damage from the heavier, older car driven by Matix.[7] Just prior to ramming the Monte Carlo, Manauzzi had pulled out his service revolver and placed it on the seat in anticipation of a shootout,[7] but the force of the collision flung open his door and sent his weapon flying. Hanlon also lost his .357 Magnum service revolver during the initial collision, though he was still able to fight with his Smith & Wesson Model 36 backup gun. The collision also knocked off Grogan's eye glasses, making it difficult for him to see.

Manauzzi was wounded when Matix fired his shotgun and the pellets penetrated the door of Manauzzi's car. McNeill fired over the hood of Manauzzi's car but was wounded by return fire from Platt's Mini-14. Platt then fired his rifle at Mireles across the street. Mireles was hit in the left forearm, creating a severe wound.[7] Platt then pulled back from the window, giving Matix opportunity to fire. Due to collision damage, Matix could only open his door partially, and fired one shotgun round at Grogan and Dove, striking their vehicle. Matix was then shot in the right forearm, probably by Grogan.[8] McNeill returned fire with six shots from his revolver, hitting Matix with two rounds in the head and neck. Matix was apparently knocked unconscious by the hits and fired no more rounds.[9] McNeill was then shot in the hand, and due to his wound and blood in his revolver's chambers, could not reload.[7]

As Platt climbed out of the passenger side car window, one of Dove's 9 mm rounds hit his right upper arm and went on to penetrate his chest, stopping an inch away from his heart. The autopsy found Platt’s right lung was collapsed and his chest cavity contained 1.3 liters of blood, suggesting damage to the main blood vessels of the right lung. This was the primary injury responsible for Platt’s death.[10] The car had come to a stop against a parked vehicle, and Platt had to climb across the hood of this vehicle, a Cutlass. As he did so, he was shot twice, in the right thigh and left foot. The shots were believed to have been fired by Dove.[11]

Platt took up position by the passenger side front fender of the Cutlass. He fired a .357 Magnum revolver at agents Ronald Risner and Gilbert Orrantia, and received another wound when turning to fire at Hanlon, Dove and Grogan. The bullet, fired by Risner or Orrantia, penetrated Platt's right forearm, fractured the radius bone and exited the forearm. This wound caused Platt to drop his revolver.[12] It is estimated that Platt was shot again shortly afterwards, this time by Risner. The bullet penetrated Platt's right upper arm, exited below the armpit and entered his torso, stopping below his shoulder blade. The wound was not serious.[13]

Platt fired one round from his Mini-14 at Risner and Orrantia's position, wounding Orrantia with shrapnel created by the bullet's passage, and two rounds at McNeill. One round hit McNeill in the neck, causing him to collapse and leaving him paralyzed for several hours. Platt then apparently positioned the Mini-14 against his shoulder using his uninjured left hand.[14]

Dove's 9 mm pistol was rendered inoperative after being hit by one of Platt's bullets. Hanlon fired at Platt and was shot in the hand while reloading. Platt aggressively advanced on Grogan and Dove's car, which they were using as cover. Reaching their position, he continued firing. Platt killed Grogan with a shot to the chest, shot Hanlon in the groin area and then killed Dove with two shots to the head.[15] As Platt entered Grogan and Dove's car, Mireles, able to use only one arm, fired the first of five rounds from his pump-action shotgun, wounding Platt in both feet.[7] At an unknown time, Matix had regained consciousness and he joined Platt in the car, entering via the passenger door. Mireles fired four more rounds at Platt and Matix, but hit neither.[16]

Around this time, Metro-Dade police officers Leonard Figueroa and Martin Heckman arrived. Heckman covered McNeill's body with his own.[17]

Platt's actions at this moment in the fight have been debated. A civilian witness described Platt leaving the car, walking almost 20 feet and firing at Mireles three times at close range. Mireles does not remember this happening. Officer Heckman does not remember Platt leaving the car. Risner and Orrantia, observing from the other side of the street, stated that they did not see Platt leave the car and fire at Mireles.[18] However, it is known for certain that Platt pulled and fired three rounds from Matix's Dan Wesson revolver at some point.[14][19]

Platt attempted to start the car. Mireles drew his .357 Magnum revolver, moved parallel to the street and then directly toward Platt and Matix. Mireles fired six rounds at the suspects. The first round missed, hitting the back of the front seat. The second hit the driver's side window post and fragmented, with one small piece hitting Platt in the scalp. The third hit Matix in the face, and fragmented in two, with neither piece causing a serious wound. The fourth hit Matix in the face next to his right eye socket, travelled downward through the facial bones, into the neck, where it entered the spinal column and severed the spinal cord. The fifth hit Matix in the face, penetrated the jaw bone and neck and came to rest by the spinal column.[20] Mireles reached the driver's side door, extended his revolver through the window, and fired his sixth shot at Platt. The bullet penetrated Platt's chest and bruised the spinal cord, ending the gunfight.[21]

The shootout involved ten people: two suspects and eight FBI agents. Of the ten participants, only one emerged from the battle unharmed. The incident lasted more than four minutes and approximately 145 shots were exchanged.[7][22]

Toxicology tests showed that the abilities of Platt and Matix to fight through multiple traumatic gun shot wounds and continue to battle and attempt to escape were not achieved through any chemical means. Both of their bodies were drug-free at the time of their deaths.[23]

AftermathEdit

The subsequent FBI investigation placed partial blame for the agents' deaths on the lack of stopping power exhibited by their service handguns. They soon began the search for a more powerful caliber and cartridge. Noting the difficulties of reloading a revolver while under fire, they specified that agents should be armed with semiautomatic handguns. The Smith & Wesson 1076, chambered for the 10mm Auto round, was chosen as a direct result of the Miami shootout. The sharp recoil of the 10mm Auto later proved too much for most agents to control effectively, and a special reduced velocity loading of the 10mm Auto round was developed, commonly referred to as the "10mm Lite" or "10mm FBI".

Soon thereafter, Smith and Wesson realized the long case of the 10mm Auto was not necessary to produce the improved ballistics of the FBI load. Smith and Wesson developed a shorter cased cartridge based on the 10mm that would ultimately replace the 10mm as the primary FBI service cartridge, the .40 S&W. The .40 S&W became far more popular than its parent due to the ability to chamber the shorter cartridge in standard frame automatic pistols designed initially for the 9 mm Parabellum. Other than a .142" reduction in overall case length, resulting in less gunpowder capacity in the .40 S&W, the 10mm and .40 S&W are identical in projectile diameter, both using a 0.400" caliber bullet.

In addition to the problems with their handguns, other issues were brought up in the aftermath of the shooting. Despite being on the lookout for two violent felons who were known to use firearms during their crimes, only two of the FBI vehicles contained shotguns (in addition to Mireles, McNeill also had a shotgun in his car, but was unable to reach it before the shootout began), and none of the agents were armed with rifles. Only two of the agents were wearing ballistic vests, and the armor they were wearing was standard light body armor, which is designed to protect against pistol rounds, not the .223 rounds fired by Platt's Mini-14 rifle.

The other six agents involved in the stakeout in five vehicles, who did not reach the shootout in time to participate, did have additional weaponry. Aside from Remington shotguns, there were also Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns, and M16 rifles.[7]

Weaponry and injuriesEdit

AgentsEdit

  • Richard Manauzzi: lost control of weapon in the initial vehicle collision, no shots fired. Minor injuries from shotgun pellets.[7]
  • Gordon McNeill: S&W M19-3 .357 Magnum revolver, 6 rounds .38 Special +P fired. Seriously injured by .223 gunshot wounds to the right hand and neck
  • Edmundo Mireles: Remington M870 12 gauge shotgun, 5 rounds 00 buckshot fired, .357 Magnum revolver (S&W, model unknown), 6 rounds .38 Special +P fired. Seriously injured by a .223 gunshot wound to the left forearm.
  • Gilbert Orrantia: S&W (model unknown) .357 Magnum revolver, 12 rounds .38 Special +P fired. Injured by shrapnel and debris produced by a .223 bullet near miss.
  • John Hanlon: S&W Model 36 .38 Special revolver, 2-inch barrel (5 rounds .38 Special +P fired). Seriously injured by .223 gunshot wounds to the right hand and groin.
  • Benjamin Grogan: S&W M459 9mm pistol, 9 rounds fired. Killed by a .223 gunshot wound to the chest.
  • Jerry Dove: S&W M459 9mm pistol, 20 rounds fired. Killed by two .223 gunshot wounds to the head.
  • Ronald Risner: S&W M459 9mm pistol, 13-14 rounds fired, S&W (model unknown) .38 Special revolver, 1 round .38 Special +P fired. Uninjured.

SuspectsEdit

  • William Matix: S&W M3000 12 gauge shotgun, 1 round #6 shot fired. Killed after being shot six times.
  • Michael Platt: Ruger Mini-14 .223 Remington carbine, at least 42 rounds fired, S&W M586 .357 Magnum revolver, 3 rounds fired, Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolver, 3 rounds fired. Killed after being shot 12 times.

LawsuitEdit

After the shooting the families of Jerry Dove and Benjamin Grogan sued the estates of Platt and Matix for damages. The lawsuit was dismissed.

MemorialEdit

In 2001, the Village of Pinecrest, Florida, which incorporated in 1996, 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.

In popular mediaEdit

  • In 1988, NBC produced a made-for-television movie, In The Line Of Duty: The FBI Murders about the shootout. Michael Gross portrayed William Matix and David Soul portrayed Michael Platt. Ronny Cox portrayed Ben Grogan, and Jerry Dove was portrayed by Bruce Greenwood.
  • An episode of the short lived TV series, FBI: The Untold Stories featured a very realistic portrayal of the shootout.
  • The event is one of several shootouts documented by firearms instructor Massad Ayoob in his 1995 book, The Ayoob Files: The Book.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite news
  4. Template:Cite news
  5. Template:Cite web
  6. Template:Cite web
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Template:Cite web
  8. Because the driver’s side door had been damaged during the collision - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  9. However, for the next minute, it is believed that Matix slumped over onto his back and lay unconscious on the front seat of the Monte Carlo. - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  10. As Platt crawled through the passenger side window, one of Dove’s 9mm bullets hit his right upper arm - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  11. After Platt crawled out the window and was rolling off the front hood of the Cutlass, Dr. Anderson believes he has hit twice more - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  12. Dr. Anderson feels Platt received his fifth wound - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  13. The bullet entered the back of Platt’s right upper arm - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  14. 14.0 14.1 http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  15. At this point in the gunfight, Dove had relocated from behind the passenger side door of his car - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  16. Mireles fired a total of five rounds from his Remington 870 shotgun from a range of about 25 feet. - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  17. At about this moment in the gunfight, Metro-Dade police patrol officers - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  18. Platt’s specific actions at this stage of the gunfight have been subject to controversy. - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  19. http://www.thegunzone.com/11april86.html, The Ultimate After Action Report, An unvarnished and illustrated forensic examination of the FBI's devastating firefight in South Florida, The Gun Zone. Accessed 2009-12-31.
  20. Mireles first shot at Platt hit the back of the front seat behind Platt’s left shoulder. - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  21. By this time Mireles had reached the driver’s side door - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm, Anderson, W. French, M.D.: Forensic Analysis of the April 11, 1986, FBI Firefight. W. French Anderson, M.D., 1996 (127 pages, paperback). Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.
  22. Template:Cite web
  23. toxicology tests conducted on the body fluids of Matix and Platt revealed neither was under the influence of chemical intoxicants. - http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs7.htm. Accessed 2009-03-11. Archived 2009-05-08.

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External linksEdit

pl:FBI Miami Shootout

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