Two FBI special agents on the agency's elite counter-terrorism Hostage Rescue Team have been killed in a training accident in Virginia, officials said Sunday.
The special agents were identified as Christopher Lorek, 41, and Stephen Shaw, 40. Lorek joined the FBI in 1996 and is survived by a wife and two daughters, 11 and 8. Shaw joined in 2005 and is survived by a daughter, 3, and son, 1.
"We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men," Director Robert Mueller said in the 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. 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 Hostage Rescue Team is part of the Critical Incident Response Group based at Quantico in northern Virginia. Most recently, members of the team successfully rescued a 5-year-old boy from a small underground bunker where he was being held hostage by a 65-year-old man. The man was killed by agents.
The Washington Post reports that "The deaths brought to at least four the number of agents killed during Hostage Rescue Team training since the group was established in 1983 as a national counterterrorist unit."
Trained in military tactics and outfitted with combat-style gear and weapons, the group was formed 30 years ago in preparation for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The team is deployed quickly to trouble spots and provides assistance to local FBI offices during hostage situations. It has participated in hostage situations more than 800 times in the U.S. and elsewhere since 1983.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.