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Agent shot dead while patrolling Mexico border; 2nd agent wounded

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times –

HOUSTON — A U.S. Border Patrol agent was fatally shot Tuesday while patrolling near the Mexico border in Arizona, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

The agent was shot and killed while patrolling near Naco, Ariz., about 1:50 a.m. MDT, according to a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times by Tucson Border Patrol spokesman Victor Brabble.

Another agent was wounded in the shooting and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the statement. The Associated Press has reported he was shot in the buttocks and ankle.

Brabble said officials have not identified either of the agents, pending notification of next of kin. The agents had been patrolling about 100 miles southeast of Tucson, the statement said.

The FBI and local Cochise County sheriff’s office are leading the shooting investigation, according to the statement. A spokeswoman for both agencies did not return calls Tuesday.

Cochise County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas told CBS 5 in Phoenix that the shooting erupted on State Route 80 about 7 miles east of Bisbee while three agents were patrolling. The third agent in the area was not injured, she said.

Capas told the station that the agents were investigating a sensor that had been triggered, indicating possible movement in the area.

The last U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot on duty was Brian Terry, 40, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits near the border in Rio Rico, Ariz., in December 2010. Two guns from that shooting were later linked to the Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation.

The border patrol station in Naco, about 100 miles from Rio Rico, was recently named after Terry.

On Tuesday, Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley released a statement saying he has requested more information about the shooting investigation from Border Patrol officials and recalling the circumstances of Terry’s death.

“Border Patrol agents put their lives on the line every day to stop the border crossers and drug cartel members who venture illegally into the United States. There’s no way to know at this point how the agent was killed,” Grassley said. “ … We all mourn for the Border Patrol agent who was killed near the border station named after another fallen hero and fellow agent.”

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