FBI Miami Firefight: Five Minutes That Changed The Bureau

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FBI Miami Firefight: Five Minutes that Changed the Bureau provides a riveting and in-depth exploration of one of the most iconic confrontations in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The authors, Edmundo and Elizabeth Mireles, masterfully weave a narrative that transports the reader directly into the heart of the action. 

This book provides an unprecedented perspective on the events that unfolded on that fateful day and their profound impact on the Bureau. This review delves into the book’s key aspects, storytelling approach, and overall relevance and contribution to our understanding of this critical event in FBI history.

Miami – The Morning of April 11, 1986

a historical photo of the 1986 miami shootout
The aftermath of the 1986 FBI Miami firefight. (Credit: Miami Herald)

The FBI Miami shootout on April 11, 1986, was one of the most violent and transformative five minutes in the history of the FBI. The book delves deep into the infamous confrontation, the culmination of a massive search for two brutal bank robbers, Michael Lee Platt and William Matix. 

The firefight resulted in the death of two FBI agents and two bank robbers and the wounding of five other agents in the span of those five minutes. The book reads from the perspective of Ed Mireles, one of the seriously wounded agents. It provides a minute-by-minute account of the events while examining their profound impact on the Bureau’s operational procedures.

The Investigation

The FBI had been tracking a dangerous pair of armed bandits who were terrorizing banks and armored cars on the South Dixie Highway. These criminals had already taken lives, and it was the FBI’s mission to stop them from killing again. 

On October 5, 1985, Platt and Matix brutally murdered Emelio Briel while he was out target shooting. They took his car and disposed of his body, which went undiscovered for months. Since Briel could not report his car stolen, his vehicle became the getaway car for their robberies.

Platt and Matix, experienced and skilled killers, clearly enjoyed using firearms. On March 12, 1986, they encountered another innocent shooter, Jose Collazo. They caught him off guard, gunned him down in cold blood, and stole his car.

However, their plans went awry. Collazo, though seriously injured, managed to play dead, making his way back to report the crime to the police. The FBI office in Miami knew this was the work of the duo they were after.

They immediately analyzed the robbery patterns and were confident the criminals would strike again on April 11, 1986, along the South Dixie Highway. They planned coordinated surveillance of the banks in the area, distributing a description of Collazo’s stolen car among the agents.

The Chase

Ed Mireles describes the police chase leading to the FBI Miami firefight in graphic detail:

At approximately 9:30 a.m., agents Ben Grogan and Gerald Dove observed the suspect vehicle and initiated pursuit. Two additional stakeout team cars swiftly joined the chase, culminating in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop. Intense collisions ensued between the suspects and the vehicles of FBI agents Grogan and Dove, John Hanlon and Ed Mireles, and agent Richard Manauzzi. 

These events forced the suspect car off the road until it violently collided nose-first into a sturdy tree in a small parking area. It ended up wedged between a parked car on its passenger side, Manauzzi’s car on its driver side, and Grogan and Dove behind. The suspect vehicle became trapped, leaving the individuals inside with no room to escape their unexpected predicament.

Shots Fired

Mireles puts the reader in the middle of the confusion, chaos, and carnage of a desperate gunfight where his survival is in doubt. He explains how he, carrying his 12-gauge shotgun, approached the suspects. He saw Matix aim his 12-gauge at Grogan and Dove and fire the first shot, wounding the two agents. 

Matix and Platt held their ground for almost five minutes despite being outnumbered and outgunned. They inflicted severe casualties on the FBI agents, killing two and injuring five. Finally, Mireles killed both men even as they returned fire.

Mireles painstakingly recounts those frightening minutes over several pages, attempting to relive them for his readers. His efforts create breathtaking clarity in a scene of utter turmoil and bloodshed.

What Changes Resulted From The FBI Miami Firefight?

a photo of the FBI Miami Firefight Five Minutes That Changed The Bureau book
The FBI Miami firefight resulted in many changes. to the bureau, including weaponry.

The Miami shootout profoundly impacted the FBI, leading to several significant changes. The most notable of these involved the agency’s weaponry. Before the incident, FBI agents typically carried .38 caliber revolvers. The shootout highlighted the inadequacy of these weapons against better-armed opponents, prompting the FBI to upgrade the agency’s firepower. 

The event also underscored the value of body armor, leading to its wider adoption within the agency. Finally, the incident led to the development of improved tactical training programs, ensuring that agents are better prepared for such high-risk situations in the future.

About The Author: FBI Miami Firefight

Edmundo Mireles, a respected name in law enforcement, is widely recognized for his distinguished career with the FBI. Mireles repeatedly displayed exceptional courage and integrity throughout his commendable service. As a result, he stands as a testament to the agency’s ideals. Many remember him for his role in the infamous 1986 Miami shootout. Despite being seriously injured, Mireles exhibited extraordinary resolve, helping to end the violent confrontation. 

In the years following his active service, Mireles helped educate the next generation of law enforcement officers by sharing his experiences and insights. He’s a compelling speaker and a respected author. This powerful memoir based on the events of the FBI Miami firefight has further cemented his legacy. His story continues to inspire aspiring officers, embodying the principles of dedication, resilience, and service. 

Book Review: FBI Miami Firefight

a photo of a man reading a book
Ed Mireles’s first-hand account of the FBI Miami firefight is an edge-of-the-seat tale.

FBI Miami Firefight: Five Minutes that Changed the Bureau is a riveting, edge-of-the-seat tale. It explores what is arguably one of the most significant events in the Bureau’s history. Ed Mireles presents a meticulous account, offering a first-hand level of detail and insight. The narrative is gripping and compelling. It takes the reader deep into the heart of the incident with vivid descriptions and a profound understanding of the Bureau’s operations. 

This book is not just a recounting of events. It’s a study of bravery, strategy, and the human element in a high-stakes scenario. It is a must-read for those who want to better understand the realities of the FBI’s work. This book provides deep insight into the true nature of the risks they and every law enforcement agency undertake in the line of duty. 

My overall rating of FBI Miami Firefight: Five Minutes that Changed the Bureau: 5/5 5 out of 5 stars

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