Two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents have been killed in an accident on Friday in Norfolk, Virginia, involving the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). The incident, involving a helicopter, is currently under investigation.
The two agents, Christopher Lorek, 41, and Special Agent Stephen Shaw, 40, were part of the Critical Response Group based in Quantico.
Lorek and Shaw were taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital by helicopter; further details about the accident have not been released.
Lorek is survived by his wife and two daughters, 11 and 8. He has been with the FBI since 1996 according to a news release by the agency.
Shaw has been with the FBI for 8 years, since 2005, and is survived by his wife and two children, a 3-year-old daughter, and a 1-year-old son.
The cause of death for the two will not be released until Monday morning, per the state medical examiner’s office.
“We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men, who like all who serve on the Hostage Rescue Team—whether training or on an operational mission—accept the highest risk, each and every day, in their commitment to keep our nation safe,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said in the statement. “Our hearts are with their wives, children, and other loved ones who feel their loss most deeply. And they will always be part of the FBI Family.” (hamptonroads.com)
The FBI HRT is a specialized counterterrorism tactical unit created to rescue American citizens and allies who are being held by hostile forces, particularly terrorists and/or criminals. The HRT was founded in 1983 and has been deployed to more than 850 events involving violent crimes, terrorism and foreign counter-intelligence.
According to the FBI website, there have been only two other casualties with the HRT, both involving training: James McAllister (1986), 36, died falling from a helicopter while training in Quantico; and Gregory J Rahoi (2006), 38, accidentally shot during a life-fire tactical training exercise at Fort AP Hill.
The HRT received a great deal of public criticism for the way they handled the Waco Siege with the Branch Davidians in 1993. By the end of the violent event, four agents were killed along with six Branch Davidians in a gun battle. The standoff had lasted 51 days. The violence ended with a fire engulfing the Davidian complex, killing 76 men women and children, including their leader, David Koresh.
By Dawn Cranfield
Senior Correspondent / Product Specialist