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US Border Patrol agents targeted in Arizona (+video)

Two Border Patrol agents were shot on Tuesday at a station in Naco, Arizona. One of the agents was killed and the other injured. Officials say the crime scene investigation could take several days. 

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Authorities set up a checkpoint on a dirt road about seven miles (11 kilometers) southeast of Bisbee. A Border Patrol truck and another vehicle carrying two portable toilets were allowed to drive past the roadblock.

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Agents at the checkpoint declined to comment and barred reporters from going further. Two helicopters from federal immigration agencies could be seen from a distance circling the area. And a fugitive-chase team could be seen staging on a roadside.

The area near the shooting is scattered with houses, trailers and ranchettes. Mesquite trees and creosote bushes dot the landscape, with a mountain range nearby to the west.

The U.S. government has put thousands of sensors along the border that, when tripped, alert dispatchers that they should send agents to a particular location.

The agents were fired upon in a rugged hilly area about five miles (eight kilometers) north of the border as they responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors, said sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas. It is not known whether the agents returned fire, she said.

The agents who were shot were on patrol with a third agent, who was not harmed, said George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border patrol agents.

The Border Patrol said Ivie worked for the agency since January 2008 and grew up in Provo, Utah. He worked as an emergency medical technician before joining the Border Patrol, said his brother-in-law, Todd Davis. He served a two-year mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico City after high school.

Ivie's desire to help others, and his love of the outdoors and riding horses led him to the Border Patrol, where he served on the horse patrol unit, Davis said.

"Nick always tried to help others. He was a very selfless man with his family, with his friends, in anything he did," Davis said. "You know the risk but you pray this day would never happen."

Twenty-six Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty since 2002. Bisbee-area residents expressed a mix of concern and frustration about the shooting, along with recognition that the border can be a dangerous place.

The region has seen its share of violence in recent years, including the Terry shooting and the slaying of a well-known rancher in 2010. That killing was, in part, credited with pushing Arizona lawmakers to pass a law that requires officers, when they stop someone, to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.

"There is no security on the border — none," said Edward L. Thomas, who owns rental properties in Bisbee.

Billeaud reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, contributed to this report.

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