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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2012


Contact: Office of Public Affairs

(202) 648-8500

ATF to Name Reflecting Pool in Honor of Special Agent Ariel Rios

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced today that the reflecting pool at ATF Headquarters will be named the Ariel Rios Reflecting Pool, in honor of the agent who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the public from violent criminals.

Sunday, December 2, 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the tragic, untimely, and violent death of Special Agent Ariel Rios. On this date in 1982, Rios and his supervisor and friend, Special Agent Alex D’Atri, who were assigned to the Vice–President’s Anti–Drug Task Force in Miami, were conducting an undercover operation. They met with the suspects in the front office of the Hurricane Motel in Little Havana. During the operation, one of the suspects pulled a gun and Special Agent Rios took action, trying to disarm the suspect. Special Agent Rios was shot and killed in the ensuing action.

At the time of his death Rios was only 28 years old, and had been with ATF for only four years. He left behind a wife and small children. Prior to joining ATF, Rios was a correctional officer in Washington DC and for the New York City Department of Corrections. Rios started his ATF career in New Haven CT., the town where he was born.

On February 5, 1985, the building at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue was renamed the Ariel Rios Federal Building. At the time, ATF called the building home. Currently the Rios Building houses the Environmental Protection Agency.

It was the wishes of the Rios family that Ariel comes home to ATF Headquarters. It is a fitting tribute to the man who paid the ultimate sacrifice that our reflecting pool will be named the Ariel Rios Reflecting Pool.