Arizona border shooting likely from friendly fire
Phoenix, AZ, United States (4E) – The shooting that fatally killed a border agent and wounded another last week in a rugged hilly area five miles of the Arizona-Mexican was apparently being blamed on friendly fire.
In a statement last Saturday, FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal said that there are strong preliminary indications that the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents.
He added that because of the continuing investigation, no further information could be provided.
Earlier, a law enforcement official said investigators at the scene had not found shell casings except those believed to have been fired by the Border Patrol agents.
“We have much to learn and conclude from this incident, and I ask for the public’s patience and understanding during this difficult time,” Jeff Self, commander of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Arizona field joint command, told reporters late Friday.
According to Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, agents often converge on a scene from different directions and rugged terrain, lack of lighting and a barrage of gunfire can make for chaotic and confusing circumstances.
After the shooting, the Border Patrol and other federal and local agencies flooded the area with personnel searching for assailants.
The Mexican government arrested on Thursday two people suspected of being involved in the shooting but an official later said that no apparent clear evidence could link the men to the case.
Ivie, 30, was the 14th agent killed in the line of duty since 2008, including three this year.
The wounded agent, who was airlifted to a hospital and later released, was not identified.