Two men, Special Agent Christopher Lorek, 41, and Special Agent Stephen Shaw, 40, who served with the FBI’s ultra-elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) were killed on Friday because of an accident during training in Virginia Beach. A helicopter was involved.
HRT just had its 30th anniversary this year. The team was created just before the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as a response to concerns that terrorists could target the Olympic community as they had in Munich in 1972, when PLO terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes. FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce said:
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. That’s how the idea of a Hostage Rescue Team evolved. As an elite counterterrorism tactical team for law enforcement, the HRT is one of the best, if not the best, in the United States. They are elite because of their training.
HRT is well-known for handling the toughest assignments; the FBI’s website said of them, “By law, the military cannot operate within the U.S. without presidential or legislative approval, so officials needed other tactical alternatives.”
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said, “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.”
Lorek is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 11 and 8. Shaw is survived by his wife, 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.