Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Border Patrol Agent Killed in Peck Canyon; Arrests Made

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 10:19 AM

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot and killed last night in Peck Canyon—the very area Leo W. Banks chronicled in his story three weeks ago, "Smugglers' Paradise."

Four people have been arrested, and a manhunt is on for a fifth suspect, according to the Nogales International (which, like the Tucson Weekly, is owned by Wick Communications):

A manhunt is under way for a suspect in last night's deadly shooting of a Border Patrol agent northwest of Nogales.

Authorities say they have arrested four suspects and are searching for another after Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was shot and killed late Tuesday in the Peck Canyon area.

Ranchers along Ruby Road say they were advised by Border Patrol that the suspect may be headed in their direction as he tries to make his way toward the U.S.-Mexico border. The Nogales International witnessed a steady stream of Border Parol and Arizona Department of Public Safety vehicles patrolling the area between Interstate 19 and Pena Blanca Lake.

Sheriff Antonio Estrada said his office first received a call for assistance shortly after 11 p.m. last night.

"Border Patrol called our dispatch, reporting shots fired and requesting emergency medical services to meet with them at Peck Canyon and Circulo Sombrero," Estrada said.

The shooting happened near Forest Service Road 4197, he said. A statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Terry was shot and killed after encountering a group of suspects in the area.

A statement in reaction from U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:

I am deeply saddened by the senseless murder of Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in the line of duty while protecting our nation’s borders.

This is a tragedy that deserves nothing less than the swiftest and strongest response. It is a stark reminder that our borders are not yet secure. The full efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are focused on bringing to justice all those involved.

What additional tragedies must Southern Arizonans endure before my colleagues in Congress and the Obama administration address this crisis with the full weight of our resources? We must act and we must act now.

The deployment of the National Guard must be extended. Additional Border Patrol agents must be dispatched to the border. And we must make smarter decisions about how technology can assist in meeting this vast challenge.

While boots on the ground are critical, they are not enough. All those responsible for securing our border must be fully equipped with the resources they need to get the job done — forward operating bases, unmanned aerial systems and electronic surveillance.

While there have been some small measures of progress in securing the border, Agent Terry’s murder and the still-unsolved slaying of rancher Robert Krentz on his land in Cochise County in March are painful reminders that much more remains to be done.

Drugs and violence along the border continue to pose significant challenges for our nation. The Tucson Sector of the Border Patrol, to which Agent Terry was assigned, must be the focus for national enforcement efforts. It is responsible for almost 50 percent of the drug seizures by the entire Border Patrol nationwide.

Mexico is a nation at war. Battles between drug cartels and the government have led to the killing of more than 28,000 people in Mexico in the last four years since President Felipé Calderon declared war on the drugs cartels. That drug violence has come across our border and directly impacted our way of life.

We must not relent in our efforts to make Southern Arizona safe. Ranchers and other residents must be able to live on their land and in their homes and work in their businesses without fear. Law enforcement officers protecting our citizens must not be threatened by vicious criminals who enter our country illegally.

I salute the resolute work of the brave men and women of the Border Patrol and the other agencies that work every day to protect our borders. And I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Terry family for their profound personal loss. Our commitment to them must be evident in our determination to bring to justice every person involved in this horrific crime.

Reaction from the Arizona Cattlemen's Association:

Each day a special group of men and women put their lives on the line for the safety and security of this country. The agents of the United States Border Patrol are normally rancher’s first responders and usually the only law enforcement on our ranches across the Southern Arizona Border.

Today we are deeply saddened by the loss of Agent Brian Terry, a patrol officer from the Nogales Border Patrol Station. We are thankful for his dedicated service to protecting the United States of America.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family. The Arizona Cattlemen’s Association knows what it is like to lose one of your own and we realize the support that is necessary to get the family through this difficult time. We are prepared to provide support, in any way possible that is needed for Agent Terry's family.

God bless the men and women of the United State Border Patrol.