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article imageTwo FBI agents killed during counter-terrorist training exercise

By Shawn Kay     May 23, 2013 in Politics
Virginia Beach - Two FBI special agents who were members of the prestigious Hostage Rescue Team were killed during a maritime-based counter-terrorism training exercise gone awry aboard a military freighter off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The two Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) members have been identified as FBI Special Agent Christopher Lorek, 41, of Glen Allen, Virginia and FBI Special Agent Stephen Shaw, 40, of Stafford County, Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, the FBI said the pair had been rappelling from a helicopter onto a ship when the helicopter encountered unspecified difficulties. The agents “tragically fell a significant distance,” the FBI said.
The two men were airlifted by FBI helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the nearest Level One medical trauma center in the area, where they were pronounced dead.
HRT has been known to train with U.S. Navy Seal Team Six. However, officials say that this training exercise exclusively involved HRT and that the elite military force was in no way involved.
A United States Navy spokesman told WAVY.com, a local NBC network affiliate serving the Virginia Beach area, that the accident had occurred as the agents were attempting to repel down to a Military Sealift Command vessel. The spokesman noted that no Navy personnel were involved in the training exercise and that the FBI had leased the ship from the Navy so that HRT can conduct training on it.
FBI seal
FBI seal
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Shaw was married with a three year-old daughter and one year-old son. Lorek was also married and the father of two daughters ages 11 and 8.
The Washington Post informs that in 1993 Lorek graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in ocean engineering and joined the FBI in 1996. He worked on cases as a field agent at the FBI's offices in Wisconsin in 2001. It was not revealed when he joined HRT and how long he had served with that highly prestigious outfit.
Lorek's funeral was yesterday at a local church in Glen Allen.
It is unclear where and when Shaw's funeral will be held.
Both the family and the FBI have been very discreet about details regarding Lorek and Shaw's personal and professional lives as well as funeral arrangements. The families of both of the fallen agents have refused to speak to any reporters.
Though agents Lorek and Shaw died this past Friday, FBI officials did not release news of the incident until earlier this week.
The Hostage Rescue Team is America's premier civilian law enforcement counter-terrorism tactical unit and SWAT team. This elite entity is tasked with rescuing Americans taken hostage by terrorists on the U.S. mainland and occasionally abroad. HRT provides assistance to other divisions of the FBI with the apprehension of violent and heavily-armed criminals.
Federal Bureau of Investigation s Hostage Rescue Team (FBI HRT) conducting hostage rescue and tactic...
Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hostage Rescue Team (FBI HRT) conducting hostage rescue and tactical counter-terrorism training.
Screengrab - Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The practice of rappelling, or fast-roping as it is more commonly referred to in the world of tactical teams, can be daunting and immensely complicated. It is a tactic that is only utilized by the military special operations teams and the most advanced law enforcement tactical units or SWAT teams.
HRT in particular is intimately aware of the hazards of fast-roping and happens to have a notedly dark history with this highly complex tactic.
In 1986, HRT member, Special Agent Jamie K. McAllister was killed when he fell from a helicopter during a fast-roping exercise.
However, despite the complexities of this particular tactic, fast-roping remains a favorite and noted hallmark tactic of HRT. No other tactical unit in American law enforcement has perfected the tactic as much as HRT has.
In the past, the elite counter-terrorism strike team has described the tactic as essential to being able to quickly board a freighter, ferry, cruise ship or other sea vessel that may have been seized by terrorists.
Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) fast-rope (or repel) ...
Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) fast-rope (or repel) onto a roof before storming a building to confront terrorists and free a hostage during a training exercise.
Youtube Screen Capture
HRT's high level of excellence in fast-roping as well as with all of its other tactics comes with much sacrifice.
The deaths of both Shaw and Lorek has cast a dark pall over the FBI's year long celebration of HRT's 30th anniversary.
FBI Director Robert Mueller released the following statement to the press on this tragic incident:
We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men. 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. Our hearts are with their wives, children, and other loved ones who feel their loss most deeply. And they will always be part of the FBI Family.
The FBI Agents Association, a professional law enforcement group of nearly 12,000 active and retired agents, released a brief public statement Monday saying, “The bravery and dedication of special agents Lorek and Shaw will not be forgotten.”
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