2 FBI Agents Killed: What Happened To Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw?

By Philip Ross on May 20, 2013 11:10 AM EDT

2 FBI agents killed
The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team is trained to rescue people being held captive by hostile forces, usually terrorist or criminal, and has over 90 full-time operators. (Photo: FBI.gov)

Two FBI agents, killed Friday during a training exercise off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA, were identified as Special Agent Christopher Lorek, 41, and Stephen Shaw, 40. According to an FBI press release, the two FBI agents killed Friday were members of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team.

Washington Post reports that the two FBI agents killed during training were taken by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

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According to the FBI, Special Agent Lorek joined the team in 1996 and Special Agent Shaw joined in 2005. While the exact cause of death of the two FBI agents has not been publicized, one Navy spokesman said that the incident took place on a Military Sealift Command ship that the FBI had leased for training.

Another FBI spokeswoman in Virginia Beach said the deaths of the two FBI agents did not involve gunfire. The FBI has not released any further information.

"We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men," FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said in a statement. "Like all who serve on the Hostage Rescue Team, they accept the highest risk each and every day, when training and on operational missions, to keep our nation safe."

He added: "They will always be part of the FBI Family."

The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, or HRT, was established as a national level counter-terrorist unit in 1983 and is based at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. The U.S., at the time, had no civilian counter-terrorism tactical team. Politico reports that the group was founded in preparation for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif., and has been involved in more than 800 sting operations in the U.S. and abroad. It is an elite group trained in military maneuvers and equipped with combat-style gear and weapons.

"Operators are able to fast-rope out of helicopters, parachute with full mission equipment, and conduct advanced SCUBA techniques," the FBI reports. "They are trained to be superior marksmen, proficient in a variety of breaching techniques-including explosives-and experts in close-quarter tactics."

According to the FBI's website, the U.S. military cannot legally operate with in the U.S. borders without approval from the president or legislature, so officials needed other "tactical alternatives."

"When Los Angeles won the nomination . . . the question was, 'Who would handle an event such as Munich?' And there weren't a lot of good answers," FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce told Fox News.

During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, 11 Israeli Olympic team members were taken hostage by the Palestinian group Black September and were later killed. The captors kidnapped the team members during the night and demanded the release of 234 prisoners kept in Israeli jails.

Police officers later took out five of the eight Black September members.

According to the Washington Post, the deaths of the two FBI agents brings the total number of HRT agents killed during exercise operations to four, since the group was founded 30 years ago. The first happened in 1986 when James McAllister fell from a helicopter during training at the FBI academy. The second occurred in 2006 when supervisory special agent Gregory Rahoi was killed during a live-fire training exercise at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia's Caroline County.

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