WASHINGTON -- Federal authorities are investigating a shooting Tuesday
along the Arizona-Mexico border that left one Border Patrol agent dead
and another wounded.
The shooting occurred shortly before 2 a.m.,
when three agents on horseback were dispatched to an area near Naco
after a ground sensor had been activated, said George McCubbin,
president of the National Border Patrol Council an association of 17,000
agents and staffers.
McCubbin said one of the agents was killed,
another wounded in the ankle and buttocks and third escaped without
injury. The wounded agent, McCubbin said, was recovering at a local
hospital.The agents were not identified, but McCubbin said they were
assigned to the Border Patrol station re-named just two weeks ago in
honor of Agent Brian Terry.
Terry was slain in the same general area in December 2010, an
incident that triggered congressional and Justice Department inquiries
into a botched gun trafficking operation which allowed 2,000 firearms to
fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers and other
criminals. Two guns from that operation, known as Fast and Furious, were
found at the scene of Terry's murder. But the weapon used to kill Terry
has not yet been identified.
McCubbin said early reports of
Tuesday's incident did not indicate that weapons were recovered or that
suspects had been arrested.
"Unless guns are recovered, any
suggestion that this incident is somehow linked to Fast and Furious is
total speculation,'' McCubbin said. "But being that this occurred in the
same general area brings back a lot of sad memories.''
Terry Station, formerly called the Naco Station, is located in Bisbee,
in southeast Arizona about 210 miles from Phoenix.
None of the
agents was immediately identified pending notification of relatives. The
wounded agent was airlifted to a hospital, according to Crystal
Amarillas, a spokeswoman for the Tucson Sector Border Patrol.
shootings came two weeks after the release of a federal inquiry into
Fast and Furious, an inquiry prompted by Terry's 2010 murder.
recently as last month, federal investigators expressed deep concern
that 1,300 of the 2,000 weapons- many of them Ak-47 assault rifles - had
not been recovered.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who helped
launch the investigation into the flawed gun trafficking operation, said
there is "no way to know at this point how the agent was killed''
"But because of Operation Fast and Furious, we'll wonder
for years if the guns used in any killing along the border were part of
an ill-advised gunwalking strategy sanctioned by the federal government.
It's a sad commentary."
Terry was the last Border Patrol agent
killed by gunfire, but four others have died since then in traffic
accidents, showing how treacherous the job and the terrain can be.
Eduardo Rojas and Hector Clark were killed in May 2011, when they were
tracking a group of illegal immigrants and their vehicle was struck by a
freight train near Gila Bend, Ariz., according to the Officer Down
Memorial Page, a web site that tracks law enforcement deaths around the
Another agent was killed in a crash in July while
patrolling near the border on an all-terrain vehicle near Fort Hancock,
Texas, according to Officer Down website. A fourth was killed in July
while assisting a disabled motorist on U.S. 90 near Cline, Texas.