Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Christy Ivie, center, wife of Nicolas Ivie, holds back tears as she is surrounded by her family, her father Tracy and mother DeAnn Morris, left, and her sister, Jan Cloward, right front, and brother, Travis Morris, right back, during news conference about slain U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Nicolas Ivie, on Thursday, Oct. 4 , 2012, at the Cochise College in Sierra Vista, Ariz. 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)
Strong evidence border death of former Utahn was friendly fire
Accidental shooting » Federal investigators used ballistic testing to determine what happened.
First Published Oct 06 2012 11:11 am • Last Updated Oct 06 2012 07:24 pm

Phoenix • Friendly fire likely was to blame in a shooting near the Arizona-Mexico line that killed one federal agent and wounded another, the FBI said, noting the investigation was still ongoing in the case that reignited the political debate over border security.

"There are strong preliminary indications that the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents," FBI Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal Jr. said in a statement Friday.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Turgal said the FBI is using "all necessary investigative, forensic and analytical resources" as it investigates the Tuesday shooting about five miles north of the border near Bisbee.

Ivie, 30, who grew up in Provo and still has family in Spanish Fork, was killed after he and two other agents responded to an alarm triggered by a sensor aimed at detecting smugglers and others entering the U.S. illegally. Another agent was wounded, and released from a hospital after surgery; the third agent was uninjured.

Federal investigators used ballistic testing to determine that the shootings likely resulted from friendly fire, according to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, which is assisting the FBI in the probe.

A spokesman for the Ivie family said how the agent died changes little.

"Quite honestly, the circumstances that surround exactly what happened will do nothing to bring Nick back," Kevin Goates, Sierra Vista stake president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told The Arizona Republic. "Those are just details.

"The fact is he is gone, and that is what the family is focusing on and their time together and their time for healing," Goates said.

Ivie is survived by his wife, Christy, and two young daughters, plus his parents and siblings.

Jeffrey D. Self, commander of Customs and Border Protection’s Joint Field Command-Arizona, said that despite the initial findings that the shootings appeared accidental, Ivie still "gave the ultimate sacrifice and died serving his country."


story continues below
story continues below

"The fact is the work of the Border Patrol is dangerous," Self said at a news conference in Tucson.

While federal authorities declined to offer details of the shooting, George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said all three agents fired their weapons.

McCubbin told The Arizona Republic that the agents had split up as they investigated the sensor alarm.

"Coming in from different angles, that is more than likely how it ended up happening," he said.

A Mexican law enforcement official said Thursday that federal police had arrested two men who may have been connected to the shootings. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said it was unclear if there was strong evidence linking the men to the case.

Mexican authorities didn’t respond to telephone messages Friday.

Ivie’s funeral is set for Monday in Sierra Vista.

The Border Patrol couldn’t immediately comment on the frequency of friendly fire shootings involving its agents. However, such incidents appear to be extremely rare, if they’ve ever occurred at all.

"I know of absolutely none in the past, and my past goes back to 1968," Kent Lundgren, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers said, citing the year he joined the agency. "I’m not saying it never happened. I’m just saying I’ve never heard of it."

Also Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano traveled to Arizona to express her condolences to Ivie’s family and meet with authorities.

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

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.