San Diego, California - On August 9, 1979, the FBI San Diego field office experienced tragedy when two special agents were killed while on duty. Special Agents Robert Porter and Charles Elmore, assigned to the San Diego Division’s El Centro Resident Agency, were shot and killed when a gunman fired at the two special agents, who were alone in the office. Special Agents Porter and Elmore returned fire, wounding the gunman, but lost their own lives.
Tragedy is not singular to San Diego. August 9, 1979 marked the first day in FBI history that three special agents lost their lives due to adversarial action. Another special agent, Johnnie Oliver, was also killed in an office thousands of miles away. Special Agent Oliver, from the FBI’s Cleveland Division, lost his life while pursuing a fugitive who was wanted for kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery.
Today, FBI San Diego, FBI Cleveland, and the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI remember all three agents, as well as all the other special agents and professional staff who have lost their lives serving this nation. Being a special agent and a member of law enforcement, you become a family, even after retirement. The August 7th memorial ceremony is a time for reflection for the friends, family, and colleagues of those who have lost their lives serving to protect others.
As stated in the Director’s message on the Wall of Honor located in every FBI field office, “For these brave men and women, law enforcement was not merely a job—it was a calling. And they died as they lived, putting the safety of others before their own...committed to the FBI’s motto of Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity above all else.”
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, over the five year period of 2008-2012, a total of 8,587 federal law enforcement officers were killed or assaulted. During the same time period, within the Department of Justice (DOJ), there were three deaths, one a FBI special agent. There were also a total of 190 injuries reported for federal law enforcement within the DOJ. The UCR Program, since 1929, has provided reliable uniform crime statistics for the nation, which the FBI has been tasked to collect, publish, and archive. The annual UCR reports include information on the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, as well as other law enforcement reporting statistics. For more information on the UCR, visit http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr.
Service, dedication, and commitment to the FBI does not end at retirement. Many of the former special agents and professional staff stay connected and assist others through the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. The Society’s mission is to aid families in need; to further youth education; to recognize the humanitarian efforts of our members, spouses, and others; and to contribute to worthy organizations related to law enforcement. For more information on the Society visit http://www.socxfbi.org/