By BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News
(MIAMI) — On Super Bowl Sunday, loved ones and colleagues of FBI special agent Daniel Aflin filed into Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium to give the slain law enforcement officer a super send-off with a 21-gun salute, a bagpipe serenade, a police helicopter flyover and praise from the bureau’s top official for tracking down and arresting “monsters none of us would ever want to meet.”
Alfin’s casket, covered in an American flag and followed by his widow, Jessie, and young son, Eli, was wheeled out to midfield on turf that is normally home for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins but was transformed for the second consecutive day into an open-air sanctuary for the solemn service.
The funeral was held one day after a memorial service for FBI special agent Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, who along with the 36-year-old Alfin, were gunned down on Tuesday while serving a search warrant at the Sunrise, Florida, home of a child pornography suspect. Four other FBI agents were wounded in the ambush.
The suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said at Sunday’s service that both Alfin and Schwartzenberger were “cut from the same patriotic cloth.”
“On Tuesday, we lost not one of our own, but two, two warriors who took on one of the hardest jobs in the FBI — crimes against children,” said Wray, who also spoke at Schwartzenberger’s service on Saturday.
He said Alfin and Schwartznberger were two best friends “who shared the same passion, the same determination and, in spite of all they witnessed in their extraordinary careers, the same sense of optimism and hope that comes from work that matters.”
Wray said Alfin joined the FBI in 2009, starting in the bureau’s Albany, New York, field office.
He described Alfin as a “true American hero” who was full of “passion for fighting for children every single day.” He said Alfin, who was also a member of the FBI’s dive team, was an innovator with an unsurpassed understanding of the technical side of crimes against children.
Alfin, according to Wrey, played a major role in fighting crime against children internationally, training the FBI’s global partners. He said Alfin’s team won an FBI Director’s Award, the bureau’s highest honor, for their work on “Operation Pacifier,” in which he and other agents took down one of the largest child exploitation sites on the dark web.
“Its users were the worst of the worst, the stuff of nightmares. And Dan’s expertise helped identify them and stop the victimization of so many innocent children,” Wray said. “Dan was both the primary case agent and the driving force behind that operation, which still stands as the FBI’s most successful operation conducted on the dark web against online child sex offenders ever.”
Alfin’s brother, Denis Alfin, recalled his sibling’s sharp intellect and a dry wit.
“In honoring Daniel today, we are not just saying goodbye to a colleague, a friend, a brother, a son, a father, or a husband, but we are collectively ensuring his memory lives on,” Denis Alfin said. “As law enforcement officers and first responders, you selflessly put the lives of others before your own. As you continue to protect our communities, you will keep a part of Daniel alive.”
During the service, Wray presented the flag that had covered Alfin’s casket to his widow.
Before the service ended with a police helicopter flyover and with a riderless horse being trotted onto the field and next to Alfin’s casket, Father James Quinn, chaplain of the FBI Miami field office, cited scripture saying “God will bless the peacemakers.”
“Daniel was a peacemaker as well as being a peacekeeper,” Quinn said.
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