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Pueblo Parks and Recreation dedicates park to former Puebloan FBI agent

Posted at 12:48 PM, May 25, 2024

PUEBLO — City leaders and local and federal law enforcement officers joined with friends and relatives in Pueblo Saturday to celebrate the life of fallen FBI Agent Laura Schwartzenberger. Pueblo Parks and Recreation hosted a dedication ceremony to rename the park in Laura's honor.

Laura frequented the former Starlite Park at the southwest corner of Northern Avenue and Surfwood Lane during her childhood. Her aunt, Janice Madrid, worked with the city to rename the park as Laura's Park.

"Laura loved her job just as much as she loved here family," Madrid said. "And as one of her family members, I wanted to do something special to honor her in this town where she grew up in and at this park that she played at."

Her husband, Jason Baca, shared Laura's three favorite titles in life; Mommy, Niña, and Special Agent.

"While she worked on different squads while with the FBI, being a mom drove her to set a new goal; to protect children in any way that she could, and she transferred to the Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force," Jason said.

Laura was killed in the line of duty in 2021 while serving a search warrant with that task force. Standing beside sons Damon and Gavin at the podium, Jason held back tears as he said being a mother was Laura's greatest joy in life.

"Remember to live like Laura," he said. "Live every day to the fullest and push yourself to accomplish your goals whatever they might be. And be a good person. You just never know what someone else is going through."

Saturday's ceremony began with the Presentation of the Colors by members of the Pueblo Police Department and Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Joint Honor Guard and the signing of the National Anthem.

Pueblo City Council President read an Honorary Proclamation naming Saturday May 25, 2024 as Laura Schwarzenberger Day. Pueblo Police Chief Chris Noeller celebrated Laura's grit and perseverance throughout her law enforcement career.

"Laura served as a role model for future generations on what it means to pursue the calling of public service," added FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge, Mark Michalek.

Laura's sons and her goddaughter Janae cut a ceremonial purple ribbon to officially reopen the park. Her family members then released doves to conclude the ceremony.

Pueblo Parks and Recreation recently updated the playground at Laura's Park and paved a new sidewalk connecting it to Starlite Drive.

A sign with Laura's photo and story accompanies a new bench installed at the park. Nearby, a tree was planted that grows purple blossoms, Laura's favorite color.

Background on Laura Schwartzenberger

Schwartzenberger was born and raised in Pueblo on Starlite Drive. The park formerly known as Starlite Park was the park she grew up playing in as a child.

Laura's Park, as the park will now be known, was recently updated in February with new playground equipment and new sidewalks.

Schwartzenberger attended St. John Neumann Catholic School before graduating from South High School with honors.

During her time at South High School, she was a state qualifier for the diving team.

Schwartzenberger later married fellow Puebloan Jason Baca and was the proud mother of two sons, Gavin and Damon.

Schwartzenberger first started her career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2005. She was and remains the only woman to ever be a part of the New Mexico SWAT team.

In 2021 she was transferred to Miami, Florida where she worked on the Cargo Theft Task Force. On this team, she was able to use her diving skills as a part of the underwater search and recovery team.

Later in Schwartzenberger's career, she was transferred to the Violent Crimes and Fugitive Task Force where she had found her calling with the Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Schwartzenberger was also the first woman to be named as a part of the FBI SWAT Team.

Schwartzenberger was among the first responders following the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting as well as the Parkland shooting. She later received an award for Law Enforcement for Federal Agent in 2016 as well as the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer in 2016 and 2019.

Schwartzenberger was later killed in the line of duty while serving a search warrant in Florida in 2021.

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