Skip to main content

FBI: Border shooting was likely an accident

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:44 AM EDT, Sat October 6, 2012
Customs and Border Protection agent Nicholas Ivie was killed Tuesday near Naco, Arizona.
Customs and Border Protection agent Nicholas Ivie was killed Tuesday near Naco, Arizona.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Secretary Napolitano travels to Arizona to express her condolences, meet with officials
  • "There are strong preliminary indications" that the shooting was accidental, says the FBI
  • Source: Only casings believed to have been fired by agents have been found
  • One Border Patrol agent killed and another wounded in shooting this week in Arizona

(CNN) -- This week's fatal shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and the wounding of another in Arizona was likely the result of friendly fire, the FBI said late Friday.

"While it is important to emphasize that the FBI's investigation is actively continuing, there are strong preliminary indications that the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie, 30, and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents," James Turgal, special agent in charge of the FBI's Phoenix division, said in a statement.

"At the appropriate time further information will be provided, but while the investigation continues it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time," he said.

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.

Investigators are awaiting results of ballistics tests, said the official, who was not authorized to speak for attribution about the investigation.

"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.

He remembered Ivie for his character, kindness and loyalty.

"Agent Ivie gave the ultimate sacrifice and died serving his country. ... He died in the line of duty and will be honored as such for his final act of service," said Self.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano traveled to Arizona on Friday to express her condolences to the fallen agent's family and to meet with local officials.

"This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women confront, the dangers they willingly undertake, while protecting our nation's borders," she said. "Together, we stand in solidarity with their families and friends, and pray for the continued safety of all who serve our country."

Napolitano was in Arizona one day after Mexican authorities questioned two men in connection with the shooting near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Mexican army handed the two over to local authorities in Sonora and they were being detained near the American border, the Mexican attorney general's office said Thursday. The two were in possession of drugs and guns when they were detained, said a source in the same office.

Ivie, a Provo, Utah, native who joined the Border Patrol in January 2008, is survived by his wife and two young children.

He was killed near a border station recently named for Brian Terry, whose 2010 death led to the public disclosure of the botched Fast and Furious gun-smuggling sting.

Ivie was the 14th agent killed in the line of duty since 2008, including three this year.

The agent who was wounded has not been identified. After the shooting, he was airlifted to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and later released.

CNN's Carol Cratty, Rafael Romo and Eduardo Aragon contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT