By Allan Lengel
Congressman André Carson from Indiana hopes history repeats itself.
The Congressman has introduced a bill to name ATF headquarters at 99 New York Avenue NE in Washington as the Ariel Rios Federal Building.
ATF agent Rios, 28, was murdered by drug traffickers in Miami in 1982 while assigned to then Vice President George Bush’s South Florida Drug Task Force. He was the first ATF agent killed by hostile action.
It’s not such an unusual request considering the old ATF headquarters at 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW was named after Rios in 1985.
In 2007, ATF moved into a more secure headquarters on New York Avenue, but Congress never named the new building after Rios.
“Naming the ATF headquarters after Ariel Rios is an important symbolic reminder of risks faced by ATF’s front line agents and their ongoing service to our country,” said Rep. Carson in a letter to colleagues asking them to co-sponsor the bill. “As a former law enforcement officer, I believe this important recognition of Ariel Rios will serve as a tribute to every frontline law enforcement officer past, present, and future.”
According to ATF, Rios and another agent, Alex D’Atri, made arrangements to meet with two suspects at the Hurricane Motel in Miami to make an undercover buy of large quantities of cocaine and machineguns. One of the suspects suddenly became suspicious, drew his weapon and made threats.
Rios struggled with him and was shot. He died shortly after in the hospital. The other agent, D’Atri, was shot and wounded but survived.
Read Rep. André Carson’s full letter to Congressional colleagues.
I am writing to ask you to cosponsor the “Ariel Rios Federal Building Act”
which will name the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
(ATF) headquarters in honor of its first special agent killed by hostile
action. This bill will designate the federal building at 99 New York Avenue,
NE Washington D.C. as the Ariel Rios Federal Building. Ariel Rios was a
young ATF special agent murdered by drug traffickers in 1982 while assigned
to then Vice President George Bush’s South Florida Drug Task Force.
In 1985, Congress designated the ATF headquarters building at 1200
Pennsylvania Avenue as the Ariel Rios Memorial Federal Building. The
designation honored both the personal sacrifice of Ariel Rios and served as
an enduring reminder of the dangers that front line law enforcement officers
willingly confront to keep the rest of us safe. For nearly 30 years, the
original ATF headquarters building bore the name of Ariel Rios.