The 1986 Miami F.B.I. gunfight is a monumental event for tactics. The five-minute gunfight between F.B.I. agents and two hard-core bank robbers changed training, equipment and tactics. In the end the bad guys were dead, as well as two agents and five other agents wounded. Now, gunfight participant FBI Special Agent Ed Mireles has published his account of what happened that day.
Hundreds of people have dissected and written about this gunfight, and there have been numerous documentaries and a movie covering the event. “Not all have presented complete information,” Mireles states in the intro to his book. His reason for writing the book: “… to set the record straight.”
Mireles joined the Marines in 1971 after graduating high school, and became a member of the Marine Security Guards program, which worked with the Department of State to provide security for U.S. embassies around the world. During his service he was “recruited” by an F.B.I. agent. Once his Corps service was over Mireles finished a four-year Bachelor’s degree and applied with the F.B.I. He was sworn in 1979, and his first assignment was D.C. In 1985 he was transferred to the Miami field office, where from April of ’85 and April of ’86 there was a bank or armored truck robbery every day. “Occasionally,” Mireles informs the reader, “there were up to five robberies on a single day.”
Michael Platt and William Matix were Miami robbers the office dubbed “The Unknown Gang.” Both were ex-military, and over a seven-month period were responsible for fifteen robberies, killing two armored truck guards and another man, whose car they stole. Several of their robberies are detailed in the book. “They were ruthless and deadly,” Mireles states.
Tracking down the duo proved to be difficult. The robbers were intelligent, and like any investigation it takes time to gather details. On April 11, 1986, things began to fall together, and at the same time matters went horribly wrong.
This book is well worth reading. There are many lessons to be learned. Almost everything that could go wrong did. The ultimate story is that of Ed Mireles. He was severely injured, yet continued to fight, putting down the two threats. And, the story that occurs after the fight both with Mireles and the F.B.I. is what’s truly important. Mistakes happen, but they are only failures if we don’t learn from them.
Ed and wife Elizabeth Mireles authored FBI Miami Firefight, Five Minutes that Changed the Bureau. I’ve only just started this book, but already feel safe recommending it. In fact, I’ve already ordered extra copies to give to friends. It’s an incredible story, shows exactly what one person can do under extreme conditions, and it should be read by everyone. (www.edmireles.com)
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 and has regular columns in Gun Digest and American Handgunner.