logo
Featured on 40:     HRL: Smith Vocational     Gas Tracker     40's Friends     Brittany vs. Pie     Weather Discussion    

Union boss: Friendly fire possibility in shooting

Family members of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie participate in Thursday Oct. 4, 2012 candlelight ceremony in Naco, Arizona. Nearly 100 people gathered in Naco for a candlelight vigil for a fallen Border Patrol agent. Ivie and two other border agents were fired upon Tuesday in a rugged hilly area about five miles (eight kilometers) north of the border near Bisbee, Ariz., as they responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. (AP Photo/Beatrice Richardson, Sierra Vista Herald)

Family members of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie participate in Thursday Oct. 4, 2012 candlelight ceremony in Naco, Arizona. Nearly 100 people gathered in Naco for a candlelight vigil for a fallen Border Patrol agent. Ivie and two other border agents were fired upon Tuesday in a rugged hilly area about five miles (eight kilometers) north of the border near Bisbee, Ariz., as they responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. (AP Photo/Beatrice Richardson, Sierra Vista Herald)

Christy Ivie, right, the wife of slain Border Patrol agent Nicolas Ivie, holds back tears as she stands with her father, Tracy Morris and her mother DeAnn Morris, at a news conference Thursday, Oct. 4 , 2012, at the Cochise College in Sierra Vista, Ariz. Nicholas Ivie was gunned down Tuesday, Oct 2, as he responded to a tripped sensor on the USA side of the border fence, near the small border town of Naco, Ariz. Ivie’s partner was also hit in gunfire during the exchange, but was released from a Tucson hospital on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Gary M. Williams)

FILE – This undated photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows slain Border Patrol agent Nicolas Ivie. The fatal shooting of Ivie and the wounding another U.S. Border Patrol agent near the Arizona-Mexico border may have been a case of friendly fire, a union chief for border agents and law enforcement officials said Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection, File)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

PHOENIX (AP) — The shooting of two U.S. Border Patrol agents near the Arizona-Mexico border may have been a case of friendly fire, a union chief for border agents and law enforcement officials said Friday.

The development could shake up the investigation into the death of one of the agents that re-ignited the political debate over security on the border.

George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border agents, said Friday that he has learned new details that make him believe friendly fire could have played a part in the shooting.

“The only thing I can say is that the possibility of friendly fire is a higher likely scenario,” McCubbin said, declining to elaborate on the new details.

Two law enforcement officials also told The Associated Press that the FBI is investigating the possibility that the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Agent Nicholas Ivie and the wounding of another agent early Tuesday morning five miles from the border was a case of friendly fire.

The probe is examining whether the two agents exchanged gunfire Tuesday in the mistaken belief that each was being fired on by a hostile gunman.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation.

FBI officials in Washington and Phoenix declined to comment.

The shooting occurred in a rugged hilly area about five miles north of the border near Bisbee, Ariz., as the agents responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. The wounded agent has been released from the hospital, while the third agent was uninjured.

Ivie’s death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.

Terry’s shooting was later linked to that “Fast and Furious” operation, which allowed people suspected of illegally buying guns for others to walk away from gun shops with weapons, rather than be arrested.

Authorities intended to track the guns into Mexico. Two rifles found at the scene of Terry’s shooting were bought by a member of the gun-smuggling ring being investigated. Critics of the operation say any shooting along the border now will raise the specter that those illegal weapons are still being used.

Twenty-six Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty since 2002.

___

Yost contributed from Washington.

Associated Press


Comments

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
blog comments powered by Disqus