Special Agent Samuel Hicks
Former Baltimore Police Officer
The Slain Agent: Samuel Hicks 'Was so Good at What he Did'
Special Agent Samuel Hicks' classmates at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., used to follow his lead when training how to safely enter homes and serve warrants, trusting the Westmoreland County native's discipline, intelligence and experience as a Baltimore police narcotics officer.
"He was our ace in the hole in leading us," said his former roommate, Special Agent Klaus Franze.
On Wednesday, Agent Hicks was leading again, this time as the first officer to enter an Indiana Township home to serve an arrest warrant on a suspected drug dealer. A shot was fired from upstairs. Agent Hicks was killed.
Agent Franze, who works in Riverside, Calif., said he wasn't surprised his friend was in a dangerous role.
"Like at Quantico, if something is going on, you put your best foot forward with your anchor. Sam was the anchor," Agent Franze said.
Agent Franze was among the friends, family, and co-workers who yesterday reflected on the life and death of the 33-year-old who joined the FBI in March 2007. They sometimes smiled, sometimes cried in remembering a man who loved family, work, and life itself.
"It's a tragedy, it's awful, it's very painful," said his sister, Emily Hicks of Somerset. But she added there was some consolation in the fact that Agent Hicks, who dreamed of becoming an FBI agent, died in the line of duty.
"If this would have happened any other way, I don't know if we could go on," she said. "He had wanted to do this his whole life. Knowing that he went out of the world this way is a more comforting way than if he had been in a car accident.
"He loved, loved, loved his work."
With Agent Hicks' passing, she said, the priority of family, friends, and co-workers is to concentrate their support on Mr. Hicks' wife, Brooke, the couple's 2-year-old son, Noah, and Agent Hicks' mother, Charlotte Carrabotta, of Rockwood, Somerset County.
"The hardest part is Noah will never get to know his father," she said, breaking down momentarily. "He will live on through Noah. As you can see, he looks just like him," she said, pointing to a photograph of the smiling family.
Earlier yesterday, FBI Director Robert Mueller III and his wife met with Brooke Hicks and other family members. The Muellers offered their condolences and told them they were members of the FBI family, Emily Hicks said.
She said the family was more worried about the danger Agent Hicks faced when he worked for five years in Baltimore, most as a narcotics detective.
"This is just devastating and heartbreaking," said Mrs. Hicks' sister, Angela Hohman of Baltimore. "[The danger] is always in the back of the mind of any spouse who has a spouse out on the street as a cop or an agent, but you also [think] it's not going to happen to me, it's not going to be us.
"[My sister] knew there were risks, but she also knew this what he wanted to do more than anything. He was not the kind to sit behind a desk.
"He was so good at what he did. He really was a good police officer and a good FBI agent and he did that well and my sister knew that and that's why you take the pros with the cons."
Retired FBI Agent Ed Corrigan, who served as one of two counselors for Agents Hicks and Franze's class at Quantico, said he quickly saw the potential Agent Hicks had.
"There was no doubt in anybody's mind going through training that this guy was going to be an outstanding FBI agent," said Mr. Corrigan, now a civilian instructor at the academy.
"It reminds you they have a difficult job that is dangerous."
Like others who described Agent Hicks as quiet, humble and giving, Agent Franze was struggling yesterday with the loss, choking up at times.
"He was one of those friends you think you'll have the rest of your life but it was not meant to be," he said. "That's life, unfortunately. This is definitely a reality check.
"As tactically sound, intelligent, and superhuman as Sam was, his ticket got punched, it was time for him to go. That is a lesson to all of us. Life is short, take advantage of it, mean what you say, do what you say. All I can do is honor the man and I will."
Co-workers of Agent Hicks on the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force marveled at how the agent, until recently the newest member of the team, immediately picked up on the work and excelled at it. And they were struck by how devoted he was to his family.
"I've never met anybody as extraordinary as him," said Allegheny County Detective Terri Lewis. "He joined a new organization and without any guidance began developing cases and shot past all of us."
FBI Agent Dan Yocca agreed: "He was bright, could think on his feet and absorbed everything. He grew much faster than most new agents grow."
FBI Agent Bob Johnson, the task force supervisor, noted that Agent Hicks was one of only 11 agents nationally to be picked for a training session in Amman, Jordan. Normally, an agent would need five years with the bureau to qualify.
But, more importantly, he said, Agent Hicks lived a life in balance.
"Sam was happy to come to work in the morning and was happy to go home at night," he said. "Tell me that's not a perfect life."
First Published November 21, 2008, 5:00 am
Samuel S. Hicks was a devoted father, loving husband, son, grandson, uncle, and friend to many. Tragically, on November 19, 2008, FBI Special Agent Hicks was killed while serving a warrant at a home in Indiana Township, Pennsylvania. He was just 33 years old.
Sam touched many lives over the years and meant something different to every person who had the opportunity to interact with him. Sam's distinctive white T-shirt and jeans look, coupled with his infectious laugh and magnetic personality, were trademarks of Sam's day-to-day life. There was just something special about him.
The Samuel S. Hicks Memorial Fund was established to carry on Sam's ideals, principles and legacy by continuing to serve the community in which he lived and worked. The fund provides opportunities to the youth of the Scottdale, Pennsylvania region through education and law enforcement scholarships as well as various youth and community programs.
Samuel was an Eagle Scout in Westmoreland Fayette Boy Scouts of America Council, loved to snowboard and entered the national boardercross circuit while attending the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ), surfed, certified scuba diver, barrel raced his quarter horse named Dusty, soccer, guitar, artist, played ice hockey for UPJ, community service.
Samuel worked Tiny Tot Ski School as an instructor at 7 Springs, Safety Ranger of the Year and Ski Patroller of the Year while attending UPJ. He joined the PA National Guard at age 17 and a junior in high school, completed his basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, between his junior and senior year of high school, and AIT Training between his senior year of high school, as an ammunition specialist in Huntsville, Alabama.
Start in Law Enforcement
Joins the FBI
Sam was assigned to the FBI Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force at the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office which brought him back home to Western Pennsylvania. In August 2008, he was one of 11 agents chosen from across the country to attend a special training in Amman, Jordan. Sam was living the life he had always dreamed of -- he had a great family, a great circle of friends and a career that he loved.
After nearly a year of dedicated service, Special Agent Samuel S. Hicks was shot and killed in the line of duty while executing a federal search warrant at a home in Indiana Township near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The arrest was part of a year-long investigation involving multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. His EOW, or End Of Watch, was November 19, 2008.
"With his experience as former law enforcement he was really the go-to guy if you had any questions," said Special Agent Brandon Yourczek, a classmate of Hicks at the FBI Training Academy, on the FBI website."Sam was the guy that you looked to see 'how should I act in this situation.'"
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government
End of Watch: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Special Agent Samuel Hicks was shot and killed while serving a narcotics search warrant at a home in Indiana Township, Pennsylvania. As Agent Hicks and other agents took the male subject into custody, the man's wife fired a shot blindly from the bedroom, fatally wounding Agent Hicks.
In January 2011 the female subject pled guilty to manslaughter and weapons charges and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Agent Hicks had served with the FBI for 18 months and had previously served with the Baltimore, Maryland, Police Department for two years.
He is survived by his wife and 2-year-old son.
Samuel S. Hicks
1974 - 2008
Special Agent Samuel S. Hicks was killed on November 19, 2008, while executing a federal arrest warrant associated with the takedown of a violent drug trafficking organization near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon entering the subject’s house to make the arrest, Special Agent Hicks was shot and killed; the subject was subsequently taken into custody. The planned arrest was the culmination of a year-long investigation involving multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Watch a video on Agent Hicks’ name being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and read the Director's remarks at a funeral service for Special Agent Hicks.
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|End of Watch||19 November 2009|
|City, St.||Indiana Township, Pennsylvania|
|Cause of Death||Gunfire|
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