Two Determined Perps Refuse to go Down.
April 11, 2986 was a dark day in FBI history. Several special agents were involved in a surveillance and apprehension operation in Miami, Florida. No one in the agency suspected that the outcome of that operation would have such deadly results.
The FBI was investigating a string of armed bank and armored car robberies in the Miami Dade area. The robbers had come heavily armed and had shot employees on two of the robberies, killing one. They hadn’t identified any suspects yet, but they were looking for a stolen black 1979 Monte Carlo that the perps had used in a heist a few weeks prior.
On the morning of April 11, fourteen special agents met to conduct a canvass for the car and hoped to catch the perps in the act. At about 8:45 Special Agents Jerry Dove and Ben Grogan spotted the Monte Carlo. The initiated a discreet surveillance and called other agents to back them up.
When other FBI cars arrived, the agents maneuvered next to, and in front of, the Monte Carlo while Dove and Grogan attempted a car stop. The two perps occupying the Monte Carlo refused to stop and smashed in to the agent’s cars. They were forced off the road and came to a stop after being pinned into a tree. As the 8 agents on scene scrambled to recover from the collisions with the Monte Carlo, the perps opened fire from inside the vehicle.
One perp, later identified as William Matix opened fire with a shotgun, quickly wounding an agent. Several of the agents returned fire, wounding Matix and knocking him out of the fight. The other perp, Michael Platt, opened fire with a .357 Magnum and a Ruger Mini-14 rifle. He was quickly shot in the chest by one of the agents, a wound that would prove fatal. Platt wasn’t going to die right away. He was going to keep fighting through multiple bullet wounds. He got out of the car, firing away at the agents, causing multiple gunshot wounds. Using a car as cover he came up behind Special Agents Grogan and Dove, who were attempting to reload a damaged weapon and get back in the fight. Platt opened fire point blank at the two agents, killing them instantly.
The severely injured Platt and Matix got in Dove and Grogan’s car and attempted to escape. A final burst of fire from one of the agents ended the gunfight for good. The FBI suffered grievously in the firefight. Seven of the eight agents on scene had been shot. Special Agent Dove and Special Agent Grogan were laying dead on the ground. Both perps were dead and a total of 145 round had been expended. Platt had been shot 12 times and Matix had been shot 6.
The two perps were well trained Army veterans with no criminal histories. They had already killed at least two people, and maybe more. Both had determined that they were not going to jail.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies made some significant policy changes after this gun battle. Several of the agents were carrying .38 Special revolvers. The agency determined that they needed more firepower. Working with firearms manufacturers, they settled on .40 caliber semi-automatic pistols. Only two of the agents were wearing bulletproof vests. This would also change for the agency and law enforcement in general. Wearing a vest became as much a part of police work as carrying a gun.