The FBI is investigating a shooting that killed one Border Patrol agent and wounded another in the southern Arizona desert Tuesday, the first time an agent has been fatally shot since December 2010.
The pair was among several agents patrolling on horseback when the shooting occurred near Naco, Ariz., about 100 miles southeast of Tucson and 50 miles from where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed two years ago.
Terry’s killing was linked to the flawed “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation, run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, after two guns tied to a suspect in the operation were found at the scene of his death.
Law enforcement officials said that no guns have been recovered and that no arrests have been made in the Tuesday shooting. The incident occurred about 1:50 a.m, after the agents responded to the activation of a ground sensor in the desert, according to George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents about 17,000 border parol agents. The sensors are used to alert border agents to smugglers and illegal immigrants.
Officials identified the slain agent as Nicholas J. Ivie, 30. He and the other agents involved in the incident had been assigned to a Border Patrol station renamed in Terry’s memory.
An FBI spokeswoman in Phoenix declined to comment except to say that the FBI is conducting its investigation along with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
Statement by Governor Jan Brewer
Lowering Flags for Slain Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie
“This day has been one of heartbreak as we learn more about a shooting near the southern Arizona border that left one U.S. Border Patrol agent dead and another injured.
“Agent Nicholas Ivie, 30, was killed early this morning while he and two other agents responded to an alerted ground sensor outside Bisbee in a remote area frequented by cross-border drug smugglers. A second agent – who has not yet been identified – was injured in the shooting but has been released from the hospital.
“Agent Ivie, a native of Provo, Utah, joined the Border Patrol in 2008. As we await specific details of the events that led to Agent Ivie’s death, let this tragedy serve as a stark reminder of the dangers encountered by the brave men and women who guard our borders and protect our nation. As with all members of our law enforcement and military, these officers risk their lives to keep us safe, secure and free. They deserve our gratitude.
“Please hold Agent Ivie, his family and his fellow law enforcement officers in your hearts and prayers during this tragic time. Let us never take for granted their service. In honor of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, I have ordered that flags at all State buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset today, October 2, 2012, and again on the day of his interment, for which services are pending.”