Customs and Border Protection Officials have identified Nicolas Ivie, 30, as the Border Patrol agent who was killed this morning while on patrol. In response, federal and state authorities have come out in force in a search for the suspected shooters.
From USA Today:
Dozens of investigators in helicopters and on horseback were searching an area as large as 20 miles for the suspects who allegedly opened fire on the agents when they approached to check on a tripped ground sensor.
"It was basically an ambush,'' said Cochise County Sheriff's Department Commander Marc Denney, whose agency is assisting the FBI in the search and investigation.
Denney said no weapons have been recovered. It was also unclear whether the suspects were involved in human smuggling or drug trafficking through a rocky corridor, about five miles from the Mexican border.
The incident happened this morning as Ivie patrolled on horseback with two other agents not far from the Brian Terry station, which was recently renamed in honor of the Border Patrol agent who killed in the line of duty in Dec. 2010.
A second agent who was wounded in this mornings shootings is currently recovering at a nearby hospital. The third agent on patrol with Ivie was uninjured.
Reactions and condolences are pouring in from across the state and the nation.
From Robert Heyer, Chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation and cousin of Terry:
Today’s shooting of two U.S. Border Patrol agents near Naco, AZ is a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by the brave men and women who patrol our borders and keep our nation safe. It is also a graphic reminder of the inherent dangers that threaten the safety of those who live and work near the border. It’s a stark reminder of the armed criminals who roam the border seeking to do harm to those who cross their paths.
The family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry extends its heartfelt prayers and condolences to family of the Border Patrol agent who lost his life and to the family of the agent who was shot and has been hospitalized.
We hope that those responsible for this shooting are brought to justice swiftly. The fact that the agents involved in this shooting were assigned to the recently dedicated Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station in Naco, AZ gives us pause to reflect on the life lost and the continued task of keeping our nation safe.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar:
“Last night, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection family suffered the loss of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie at the hands of criminals operating on the border near Naco, Arizona. Another agent was also wounded and was treated at a local hospital. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with Agent Ivie’s family and friends in this difficult time.”
Congressman Ron Barber:
Today, for the second time in less than two years, a Border Patrol agent was murdered in the line of duty as he patrolled the Southern Arizona desert.
This is a powerful reminder that our borders are far from secure and that every day the courageous men and women of the Border Patrol put their lives on the line while protecting the citizens of Arizona and the United States.
It is especially tragic that the agent who was killed today worked at a station named in honor of Brian A. Terry, a Border Patrol agent slain in the line of duty in December 2010. I was honored to help dedicate the station in Brian Terry’s name two weeks ago and today I am deeply pained that we now mourn the death of another agent from that same station.
We need to redouble our efforts to secure the border and ensure the safety of Border Patrol agents. We cannot cede one foot of American soil to these cross-border bandits. And we must never forget that the men and women of the Border Patrol are on the front lines defending our country.
This morning I spoke to Border Patrol leaders for the Tucson Sector to offer my condolences to the men and women of the Border Patrol. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the agent who today made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Martha McSally, Barber's opponent in the upcoming congressional race:
"Southern Arizona was gravely reminded late last night of the extreme violence on our border. My deepest prayers and condolences go out to the family of the fallen hero, his fellow agents, and the community of Naco. I am heartbroken by the loss of another brave Border Patrol warrior who put his life on the line and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and security."
Congressman Raúl Grijalva:
“My first thoughts are with the families of the two agents attacked last night and the grief they’re feeling today. Every act of violence against the brave men and women who serve this country is a loss for their relatives and loved ones, and for all of us.
“I spoke with Border Patrol Commander Self earlier today, and he spoke of the resilience and unity of the Border Patrol family in this difficult time. They’re dedicating enormous resources to pursuing and bringing to justice the people responsible. I couldn’t agree with him more. We join him and the entire Border Patrol community in demanding justice and accountability. This crime cannot, and will not, pass without a swift and appropriate response.
“As that investigation goes forward, I encourage everyone to refrain from exploiting today’s tragedy for their own purposes. Using the death of an American as an occasion for divisive political rhetoric is not timely, humane or appropriate.
“I am profoundly grateful for the service these agents have rendered their country and deeply saddened by today’s loss. The Border Patrol and the larger law enforcement community are responding quickly, thoroughly and professionally, and I share with the people of Southern Arizona an eagerness to see justice done as soon as possible.”
State Senator Gail Griffin:
“Along with my friends and neighbors who live near the border, I express my profound sadness at the loss of one of our courageous Border Patrol agents and extend my deepest condolences to the families of the agent killed and the other agent wounded.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI were quick to respond and they are searching for the suspects in this disgusting act of violence on the people who protect us.
This morning’s shooting reinforces what many of us in Arizona have known for years—that our southern border is not secure, that armed drug and human smugglers remain a grave threat, and that the federal government’s response to the situation has been totally inadequate.
The safety of our citizens must be a fulltime priority, not just something we focus upon after a tragedy. Our men and women in uniform face these dangers every day, and we owe it to them to address this issue once and for all. The federal government continues to drag its feet, so Arizona must step forward and do all it can.”
Jonathan Paton, candidate in the race for Congressional District 1:
"This is another tragic reminder of the violence along our southern border. My deepest prayers are with the family of the border agent killed today and with his fellow agent who was also injured while protecting our country. All our border agents courageously put their lives on the line to keep us safe. We honor their service and sacrifice in protecting Arizonans."
Rep. Chad Campbell, Arizona House Minority Leader:
“I am incredibly saddened by the shooting of two Border Patrol agents this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, their families and all those who serve with them. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the dangers Border Patrol agents face and the sacrifices they make to protect our country. I would like to thank them for their service and dedication.”