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Picture emerges of FBI gunman as unstable, armed. Fund opened for agents' families
Miami Herald - 2/5/2021
Feb. 5—Three days after David Lee Huber took his life following a deadly shootout during an FBI raid at his Sunrise apartment, a picture is emerging of an unstable man, living alone with weapons, who may have suffered from mental illness.
Sunrise Police Department records released on Friday to the Miami Herald show two calls in the last year to Huber's address. One was about a man reported hallucinating, the other about a man screaming at a neighbor and making a throat-slashing gesture. Huber — who opened fire through his front door on agents, killing two and wounding three others —isn't named in either report but officers were sent to his address and he fits the descriptions.
At least two people said Huber had guns at his home. One former neighbor said Huber shunned others and once pulled a gun on an exterminator hired by his apartment complex to spray for pests. A former co-worker also said Huber once told him he was bipolar and he feared Huber might shoot up the office after being fired over an angry outburst.
"He did talk about some days when he really needed to get his meds," a man named Christian Suarez, who said he worked with Huber at a computer company, told WTVJ Channel 6. "He told me he had some mental issues with bipolar, manic depressive [disorders]. He was really anxious about getting his meds that would keep him cool."
Huber, 55, killed himself early Tuesday morning inside his Sunrise apartment, after being wounded during a gun battle and barricading himself inside his home as FBI agents attempted to execute a search warrant looking for child pornography on his computers. Law enforcement agents believe the gunman spotted the FBI agents, who worked at the Miami field office, through a camera on his door and opened fire from inside with a rifle.
Agents Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, married with two children, was killed. So was agent Daniel Alfin, 36, a husband and the father of a child. Three other agents were injured in the exchange.
The shooting, one of the worst in recent memory involving FBI agents, rocked the federal agency. Director Christopher Wray flew to South Florida to meet with agents and talk with the families of the fallen. President Joe Biden spoke of their deaths from the Oval Office.
In other developments Friday, The FBI Agents Association Membership Assistance Fund created a GoFundMe site, https://gf.me/v/c/pryg/support-fallen-fbi-agents-and-families, for Alfin and Schwartzenberger, with the goal of raising $500,000.
"These selfless warriors fought day in and day out to protect innocent children who can not fight to protect themselves. Crimes against children is a violation so dark that most people are afraid to talk about, and only the strongest among us can handle it," said Jesse Kranz, who organized the fundraiser.
The agents also will be honored at separate events at Hard Rock Stadium this weekend. Schwartzenberger's memorial is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday. Alfin will be eulogized at 2 p.m. Sunday. The services, which are not open to the public due to the pandemic, are expected to be attended by FBI Director Wray, Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson and FBI agents from South Florida and other federal agencies.
The three other agents injured in the shooting have not been named. One was grazed by a bullet and treated at the scene. The other two were briefly hospitalized and released on Wednesday.
The details of Huber's life in South Florida remain somewhat sketchy. He was a computer system's engineer with a pilot's license who was married for 16 years before divorcing in 2016. He once lived in Colorado and he also lived in Pembroke Pines with a former wife, to whom he deeded the family home.
Though public records show no criminal charges against Huber, there were signs of trouble at his home and at work. Other than receiving a few traffic tickets, Huber seems to have had a couple of brief encounters with police early on during the pandemic, records received from the Sunrise Police Department indicate.
The first, on April 11, 2020, involved a noise complaint to the Water Terrace apartment address where Huber lived. Though he is not named on the complaint, the report says a shirtless 54-year-old was suspected of throwing illegal fireworks. The person who called police claimed a man fitting Huber's description first told him he was going to "chop his head off." Then, when the man passed the window at the caller's apartment, the caller said the man made a horizontal slashing motion across his neck and gave him the middle finger.
Two weeks later on April 26, police were once again called to 10100 Reflections Blvd., Apt. 102, because a man at the apartment seemed "dazed and confused." The man, police said, was hallucinating and looking up at the sky saying, "It's time to go."
Though he fit height, weight and age descriptions and the addresses matched in both instances, Huber was not named in either report and no one appeared to have been taken into custody.
A neighbor who lived above Huber earlier this week told the Miami Herald that he seemed awkward, rarely interacted with others and that his apartment was sparsely decorated. She said his two sons would occasionally visit. April Evans also recalled an incident a few years back when an exterminator hired by the apartment complex told her that Huber had had just threatened his life.
"He was shaken and said, 'Oh my God, the guy that lived downstairs just had a gun in my face,' " she recalled the exterminator saying.
Huber's actions that day seemed in line with the fear of his former co-worker Suarez. Suarez and two co-workers told Channel 6 that Huber was a good engineer and systems analyst who worked at their company for six months in 2016, before he was fired. The television station agreed to keep the company's name out of the story.
The Herald couldn't reach Suarez on Friday but he told Channel 6 he also worked with Huber for two years at another company and Huber became enraged while the two were discussing healthcare. Huber feared the Trump administration would cut him off from his healthcare and the medication he so badly needed. Suarez said Huber was fired after the exchange, which Suarez found to be a frightening prospect.
"I knew he had guns," said Suarez. "I knew he was bipolar. Those were a few things that pretty much [set off my alarm]. When he was fired, we knew that he knew where we were."
Miami Herald Staff Writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.
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