'FBI Miami Firefight': Lessons Learned

posted on June 2, 2018

One of the most infamous law-enforcement gunfights of modern times occurred on April 11, 1986. Of course, I am talking about the shootout between FBI agents and bank robbers in Miami, FL. Eight agents of the FBI engaged two men who were suspected of committing several bank robberies in the area. In the gunfight that followed, two FBI agents were killed and five wounded – some severely. The two bank robbers were killed. 

Retired FBI agent Edmundo Mireles, Jr., is the agent who ended the shootout by closing with the two killers and ending their lives with his Smith & Wesson revolver. Mireles has just released a book with his own, first-hand account of that famous gunfight. “FBI Miami Firefight”, by Edmundo & Elizabeth Mireles, can be purchased at edmireles.com. I recommend it highly.

Even though this very interesting book covers a law-enforcement engagement, there are a number of lessons that the armed citizen can learn. The most important, in my opinion, is the fact that just because you are wounded doesn’t mean that you are out of the fight. Fairly early in the gun battle, Agent Mireles sustained a devastating wound to his left forearm, a wound so bad that Mireles was afraid he would bleed to death very shortly.

In spite of this wound, Mireles forced himself to get back into the fight. Making good use of cover, he ran his 12-gauge pump shotgun one-handed and continued to engage the criminals. My guess would be that the FBI had not trained its agents to run a pump shotgun one handed; it was something that Mireles figured out on the fly. I wonder how many of us have given serious thought to how we will run our defensive guns if one of our arms/hands is out of commission.

Finally, with his shotgun empty, Mireles drew his service revolver and closed on the suspects, shooting them multiple times and ending the fight. It is interesting to note that this gunfight is what caused the FBI to transition to semi-automatic pistols and to adopt the .40 S&W and 10 mm cartridges for service use. Yet the gunfight was stopped by a determined man armed with a .38 Spl. revolver.

In his book, Mireles talks at length about the thought process that forced him to stay in the fight in spite of his serious wound. He also talks about dealing with the aftermath of the shootout, the fact that his friends and co-workers were dead, the long, painful recovery period from his own injury and his thoughts about how things could have been handled more successfully. It is Mireles’ in-depth discussion of his own thoughts and fears in the midst of a devastating gunfight that should be of interest to the armed citizen.

“FBI Miami Firefight” by Edmundo & Elizabeth Mireles. Get a copy at edmireles.com. You won’t regret it.


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