11 April 1986
On that morning, 14 FBI special agents in 11 vehicles begin to converge on a site along 53 blocks of a highdensity commercial zone on the South Dixie Highway. It’s an area with both heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic. It also has five banks. The agents do not know the identity of the suspects involved in the recent spate of robberies, just that a robbery is likely on this day.
The special agents have an on- site assignment conference to decide their individual assignment locations, before fanning out across the target location to make contact with local police patrols and also local bank personnel.
Special Agent Benjamin Grogan is driving with his partner, Jerry Dove, when they spot a stolen vehicle that was previously used in a bank robbery just weeks before. They begin to tail it.
Special Agent Grogan calls it in. He addresses all assigned units that they’re behind the suspect vehicle: a black, twodoor 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with Florida number plate NTJ- 891.
A short distance away in his unit vehicle, Special Agent Ed Mireles replies, “Ben, we’re right behind you…
You wanna do it, let’s do it.” Grogan, a 25- year FBI veteran, is more cautious: “Negative, let’s get some marked units.” They’re travelling north on the South Dixie Highway. Grogan and Dove keep the rest updated, requesting back- up from marked police cars.
Three more FBI units join Special Agents Grogan and Dove, tailing the suspect Monte Carlo as discreetly as possible, while a fourth FBI unit approaches the rest of the team from around three blocks away. The suspect vehicle enters the suburbs, away from the busiest part of the highway, and suddenly the tailing FBI units become more conspicuous.
The Monte Carlo begins to drive more erratically, the driver apparently aware they are being followed. Squad supervisor Gordon McNeill sees something that worries him and informs the rest of the FBI team: “Just looked at them: they’re loadin’ up something in the front…”
Upon hearing that their suspects are locking and loading their weapons, Special Agent Grogan orders the stop and arrest while Dove barks out, “Felony car stop, take them, felony car stop, let’s do it!”
All pretences abandoned, Grogan and Dove engage their lights and sirens and, as the first FBI vehicle behind their target, step on the throttle and attempt to overtake the suspect vehicle.
Several FBI vehicles attempt to box the Monte Carlo in, and special agent Dick Manauzzi sees the passenger inside the suspect vehicle preparing to open fire on any FBI unit that passes. Taking no chances, he rams the vehicle in an effort to disrupt their aim, if not incapacitate the criminals.
Special Agent John Hanlon also rams the Monte Carlo, but loses control and collides with a wall on the west side of 82nd Avenue.
In a surprise manoeuvre, the suspects hit the brakes and pull a high- speed u- turn in a dramatic effort to shake the FBI units off. Special Agent Manauzzi, having been halted in his vehicle by a previous ramming attempt, has time to line his car up and ram the suspects’ vehicle one final time.
The Monte Carlo is forced into a tree on 82nd Avenue and 122nd Street. It is boxed in by a tree in front, a civilian car on one side and two FBI unit vehicles on the other. Special Agents Grogan and Dove are a few metres behind in their car, while the two vehicles with Special Agents Gil Orrantia, Ron Risner, John Hanlon and Ed Mireles are on the opposite side of the road.
Special Agent Risner calls in, demanding help from the remaining agents who are yet to reach the scene: “We got people down, let’s get some help over here!” They request a location and a “read out on the scene” but in the heat of the firefight, Risner only has time to say, “More people down here!”
Three Metro- Dade police officers arrive to assist the beleaguered agents.
Crucial seconds pass, and there’s confusion over the radio as to exactly where the shootout is taking place. Eventually Special Agent Orrantia gets on the radio to clarify the situation: the two suspects are dead, but so are two of the FBI’s agents: Grogan and Dove.