Book Review—FBI Miami Firefight: Five Minutes That Changed The Bureau

posted on November 28, 2018
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On April 11, 1986, FBI agents of the Miami Bank Robbery Squad engaged Michael Platt and William Matix—robbers and murderers, both—in a gun battle that left four men dead and five others wounded. The shootout was a catalyst for change within the FBI, and law enforcement at large, with regards to training, tactics and gear selection—particularly firearms, ammunition and defensive measures, such as body armor. These changes, and the volumes of accumulated research and data, have also made their way into the civilian commercial market, and are reflected among today’s personal-defense offerings.

In his book, FBI Miami Firefight: Five Minutes That Changed The Bureau, former FBI Special Agent Edmundo Mireles—the man who, despite being grievously wounded, definitively ended that violent encounter—recounts his experience on that fateful day, reveals the events that led to the shootout and discusses some of the enduring repercussions.

Firefight is a deeply personal narrative that was co-authored by Mireles’ wife, Elizabeth, who is also a former FBI agent. In the 175-pp. paperback, she penned several chapters that describe her experiences on April 11 and how she coped with her husband’s wounding, persevering through his recovery. But the book is also a thoroughly researched piece of literature. Mireles does not rely simply on his recollection, instead he combines his memory with decades of research, which includes not only the ballistic and forensic evidence—some of which is provided for the reader in color photographs and diagrams—but also interviews with his fellow agents and the police officers who were involved, the statements of witnesses and even the recorded radio traffic between the agents in the field.

In so doing, Mireles delivers a captivating account of one of the most studied shootouts in modern history, while also presenting the true facts of the event and dispelling some of the common myths, such as the often-circulated idea that the FBI agents were “out-gunned” by the arsenal of Platt and Matix. Mireles disproves this notion, but also explains how a few twists of fate did give the criminals a deadly advantage. This firsthand accounting of that seminal event will be of great interest to all firearm enthusiasts, from law enforcement and military personnel, to industry professionals, historians and armed citizens. Price: $15. Contact: Edmundo Mireles Jr.; edmireles.com.   

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