Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie was shot to death Tuesday in Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico line, the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.
Ivie, 30, and a colleague were on patrol in the desert near Naco, Ariz., about 100 miles from Tucson, when shooting broke out shortly before 2 a.m., the Border Patrol said. The second agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks, and was airlifted to a hospital.
State and national leaders issued the following statements in response to Ivie's death:
U.S. Senator John McCain:
"Early this morning, agents from the U.S. Border Patrol were involved in a shooting near Naco, Arizona. Initial reports indicate that one agent was killed and another seriously injured. While the investigation is still in its early stages, today's events are a tragic reminder of the threats that Border Patrol agents face every day in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with these agents, their families, and all those in the Border Patrol community."
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer:
"Arizona has lost another Border Patrol agent.
"In the dark hours before daybreak, one agent was killed and another injured while on-duty along Arizona's southern border. It is believed they were responding to an alerted ground sensor in a remote area near Bisbee, a short distance north of the border. In a tragic coincidence, these agents were assigned to Brian Terry Station - newly-dedicated and named for a U.S. Border Patrol agent murdered under similar circumstances in Arizona less than two years ago.
"More recently, in May 2011, we lost two more agents - Eduardo Rojas, Jr. and Hector Clark - when they were killed in a vehicle accident while pursuing suspected drug smugglers near Gila Bend.
"What happens next has become all-too-familiar in Arizona. Flags will be lowered in honor of the slain agent. Elected officials will vow to find those responsible. Arizonans and Americans will grieve, and they should. But this ought not only be a day of tears. There should be anger, too. Righteous anger - at the kind of evil that causes sorrow this deep, and at the federal failure and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and our Border Patrol in harm's way. Four fallen agents in less than two years is the result.
"It has been 558 days since the Obama administration declared the security of the U.S.-Mexico border 'better now than it has ever been.' I'll remember that statement today."
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne:
"The news today that a U.S. Border Patrol Agent was killed and one of his partners hurt in a border enforcement action near Naco, Arizona is another tragic reminder of the extreme conditions on this portion of the U.S. - Mexico border.
Every day, hundreds of brave men and women don a uniform and put their lives on the line to protect American citizens, and the agent in this terrible incident offered the ultimate sacrifice in the course of duty.
I offer my deep condolences to the family of the slain agent as well as best wishes for the swift and full recovery of the agent who was wounded. And I am grateful to all the selflessly dedicated men and women of the Border Patrol who so willingly place themselves in harm's way so that our nation can be secure."
Jeffrey D. Self, commander of the Joint Field Command – Arizona:
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Agent Ivie’s family during this terrible time. This is a tragic loss for Customs and Border Protection. We have an unwavering commitment to pursue and bring the perpetuators of this heinous act to justice."
Acting Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla:
“Tucson Sector mourns the loss of one of our own. It stands as a reminder of the dangers that agents of CBP face every day. We appreciate our state, local, federal and international partners for their support and commitment in seeking justice in this tragedy."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
“I am deeply saddened by the death of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the attack on another Border Patrol Agent early this morning. Both agents were on patrol near Bisbee, Arizona when they came under fire from an unknown assailant. This act of violence reminds us of the risks our men and women confront, and the dangers they willingly undertake, while protecting our nation’s borders. We are working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to track down those responsible for this inexcusable crime, and to bring them to justice. I have ordered all DHS flags to fly at half staff in honor of our fallen CBP colleague. Together, we stand in solidarity with their families and friends at this difficult time, and pray for the continued safety of all who serve our country."
Arizona Republican Party Chairman Tom Morrissey:
"As a retired law enforcement officer, this tragedy hits a place in me that is beyond politics.