By Josh Rojas
TAMPA, Fla. (BAY NEWS 9/CNN) - A former federal agent is speaking out about a shooting that happened 25 years ago. That's when a gunman's bullet avoided hitting him by going into the barrel of his own weapon.
Carlos Montalvo says it was a one in 20 million shot.
"It was a lucky shot and I'm alive by a miracle," said Montalvo.
That unbelievable shooting happened in the Miami area 25 years ago.
Montalvo says the only reason he can talk about it now is because he recently retired from the Tampa division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"My years at ATF are over and I could freely talk about it," said Montalvo.
He says he was undercover for most of his nearly 29 years as an ATF agent. A long career that was nearly cut short on October 20, 1987.
Montalvo says his life was saved that day by a miracle when a bullet fired from a drug suspect's gun entered the barrel of his gun.
Both of the pistols were the same make and model .9mm Sig Sauers.
"The first round that he shot at me went down the barrel of my pistol and smashed my bullet," said Montalvo.
He has that lucky gun hanging on his wall.
"One in 20 million shot," he said.
You can still see a dent on Montalvo's gun where that bullet struck. He says about 75 percent of the lead entered his barrel, fusing to the top of his bullet.
But at the time, he says it felt like he fired.
"His bullet went so straight through the barrel of my gun that it felt like the recoil of my bullet going out. And he beat me by fractions of seconds on me pulling the trigger," he said.
The drug suspect, 23-year-old William Morales, was sitting inside a car.
Montalvo was standing in the parking lot about four feet away, trying to unjam his gun, not knowing what was wrong with it at the time.
That's when Morales fired a second shot.
"He opened fire. So, his bullet went through my hair," he said.
Montalvo says the suspect fired two more shots that barely missed him.
"His shot went through the collar of my jacket and then I threw myself on the ground and he fired another on the ground and he missed," he said.
Hialeah police officers returned fire, killing Morales.
Luis Diaz was in charge of that reverse drug sting that day and says he witnessed the miracle shot.
Also on the scene and undercover at the time was Carlos Zayas, who's now a Hialeah police sergeant.
"I heard the shot, I looked, I saw him fall down and to boot he wasn't even wearing a vest, a bullet proof vest. Which like I said it was an all-around miracle," said Zayas.
"It was amazing. So, I think God has something for me," said Montalvo.
BAY NEWS 9/CNN