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U.S. Border Agent Shot Dead In Arizona

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent is now under investigation. Nicholas Ivie was on patrol in the desert along the Mexican border with Arizona yesterday when he was shot. NPR's Ted Robbins reports.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: The area between the towns of Naco and Bisbee, Arizona, has been a smuggling route for decades. The Border Patrol has stationed hundreds of agents there. Three agents were responding to a ground sensor, which was tripped, when someone opened fire. Nicolas Ivie was killed, a second agent was wounded, the third was not hit. Ivie was 30 years old. He had been a Border Patrol agent for three years. Customs and Border Protection Commander for Arizona Jeffrey Self spoke at a news conference in Naco.

JEFFREY SELF: His death only strengthens our resolve to enforce the rule of law and bring those responsible to justice.

ROBBINS: Officials released few details. But much of the media and some politicians tried to tie the killing to the Brian Terry case. Terry was a Border Patrol agent killed near Nogales, Arizona almost two years ago. The guns used to shoot him were later traced to Fast and Furious, a botched Justice Department operation which allowed weapons bought in the U.S. to be taken to Mexican drug smugglers. F.B.I. agent James Turgal would not yet make that link.

JAMES TURGAL: I'm not going to talk about the Terry case. We need to stay on message here. This is about the sad loss of life of Agent Ivie.

ROBBINS: There was one connection. Nicolas Ivie was based at the Naco Border Patrol station, which was renamed for Brian Terry only a few weeks ago.

Ted Robbins, NPR News, Tucson. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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