Highest-ranking FBI agent in Atlanta who died from 9/11 related illness remembered

The highest-ranking FBI agent in Atlanta is being remembered for how he bravely fought against crime and cancer.

The death of FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge, David Levalley, which was announced Saturday is a reminder that not all line-of-duty fatalities come from a gun, and not all are instantaneous or even close. The loss is no less.

"It's important as we move further away from 911 that people do not forget what we lost on 9/11, right away or later. He had to know he was making a sacrifice that day, I have no doubt. He never complained," said retired FBI agent Steve Emmett.

An FBI statement said quote:

"He was called to serve his country following the attacks on 9/11 at the World Trade Center where he spent several weeks being exposed to many contaminants. Dave died in the line of duty as a direct result of his work at the World Trade Center."

"I was devastated. I talked to David at least a couple of times a week," Emmett said.

The officer down website's memorial page now lists 11 FBI men and women with the cause of death: 9/11-related illness. Two have occurred this year,including Levalley.

"I'm just having a tough time coming to terms with the fact that he is gone," Emmett said.


Emmett said Levalley left his stamp on cases the public knows about like the Atlanta City Hall corruption case, counter terror operations the public doesn't know about in detail and cases where the FBI assisted other law enforcement agencies such as the ultimately successful manhunt for two suspects in the murders of a pair of Georgia Department of Corrections sergeants.

Emmett said Levalley was the son of missionaries in the Philippines, a U.S. Marine and a former police officer.

"One of the finest lawmen I've ever worked with and I have been in the profession for 46 years," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

Keenan said Levalley went all the way up the chain to the FBI director to get the state's counterterrorism clearinghouse moved into the FBI's new building here.

"He was very low key but very direct in handling business," Keenan said.

Keenan said he talked to Levalley at least twice a week.

The FBI said there will be a viewing Thursday at Fellowship Bible Church and a memorial service Friday at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church.

Levalley will be buried at Quantico National Cemetery.