The First Female FBI Special Agent Killed In the Line of Duty Was Killed By Other Agents

The chance for women to serve as agents in the FBI didn't come until 1972. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agency’s only director for 48 years, refused to allow women to even apply, claiming they couldn’t handle the physical rigors of the job. When Hoover died, the rules quickly changed and women were finally admitted. In 1984, Robin Ahrens chose to enter special agent training at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia. She graduated in June 1985. However, just a few short months later, Special Agent Ahrens, who was assigned to the Phoenix FBI Office, was fatally wounded while participating with other agents in the apprehension of fugitive Kenneth Don Barrett, who was sought for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for armed robbery. Ahrens was fatally shot by other agents at the arrest scene who mistook her for the armed girlfriend of the fugitive. She was the first female special agent to be killed in the line of duty.