Border Patrol agent dies, manhunt under way

October 3rd, 2012 by Staff

(CNN) — Authorities continued their manhunt Wednesday for the person or people who shot and killed a Border Patrol agent and wounded another near Naco, Arizona.

The agents fell under fire after responding to a sensor that had gone off near the border, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The agent killed was identified as 30-year-old Nicholas Ivie. A native of Provo, Utah, he joined the Border Patrol in January 2008. Ivie is survived by a wife and two young children.

“I’m just in shock right now and sad,” sister-in-law Michelle Ivie told CNN affiliate KUTV. “Nick was the most tenderhearted, kind, gentle, loving person you could ever meet.”

He was the youngest of five children, KUTV reported.

In a statement, his parents and brothers said: “We are extremely proud of Nick and for his service both in his community and our country. He loved what he did and he gave it his all, including his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wonderful wife and his two beautiful girls.”

The agent who was wounded was not identified. After the shooting, he was airlifted to an area hospital and was reported to be in stable condition. His injuries were not life-threatening.

“Agent Ivie died in the line of duty, protecting our nation against those who threaten our way of life. His death only strengthens our resolve to enforce the rule of law and bring those responsible to justice,” Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar said in a statement.

The FBI is conducting a joint investigation with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.

James Turgal, special agent in charge of the FBI for the Phoenix division, declined to say whether the agents involved in the incident returned fire. He also declined to comment on whether any weapons had been found.

Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, said investigators are at the scene.

“Every time that a law enforcement person is either killed or shot or injured in the line of duty, we have to take a moment and think of our families and think of the heroes involved,” Breuer said.

Ivie is the 14th killed in the line of duty since 2008, including three this year.

He was killed near a border station recently named for Brian Terry, whose 2010 death led to the public disclosure of the botched Fast and Furious gun-smuggling sting, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

“There’s 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,” the Republican senator said.

Turgal declined to comment on whether there could be a possible Fast and Furious connection to Tuesday’s killing

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