House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa released a statement Tuesday demanding authorities to “investigate the full circumstances” of Agent Ivie’s shooting. Congressman Jeff Flake asked, “What will it take for the Obama Administration to commit more resources in the Tucson sector? All we hear from the Department of Homeland Security is that “the border is safer than ever.” Does this sound safer than ever?”
Governor Brewer was pointed in her comments shortly after the news of Agent Ivie’s death was announced, “What happens next has become all-too-familiar in Arizona. Flags will be lowered in honor of the slain agent. Elected officials will vow to find those responsible. Arizonans and Americans will grieve, and they should. But this ought not only be a day of tears. There should be anger, too. Righteous anger – at the kind of evil that causes sorrow this deep, and at the federal failure and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and our Border Patrol in harm’s way. Four fallen agents in less than two years is the result.”
“It has been 558 days since the Obama administration declared the security of the U.S.-Mexico border ‘better now than it has ever been.’ I’ll remember that statement,” said Brewer.
Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, 30, was killed while he and two other agents responded to an alerted ground sensor outside Bisbee in a remote area frequented by cross-border drug smugglers. A second agent – who has not yet been identified – was injured in the shooting but has been released from the hospital.
Agent Ivie and two other agents were ambushed near Bisbee, Arizona, at approximately 1:30 am Tuesday according to the National Border Patrol Council. The three agents were on mounted patrol in the area about five miles north of the border and seven miles east of Bisbee south of Arizona Highway 80.
Because of the rocky terrain, the agents dismounted and were hiking into the area when they were suddenly fired upon. Agent Ivie was fatally wounded and one other agent was less severely wounded. The wounded agent was airlifted to University Medical Center. He was shot in the ankle and buttocks and suffered non-life threatening injuries.
A massive search was initiated but not suspects have been apprehended or identified.
Agent Ivie was assigned to the Bryan A. Terry Border Patrol Station. Agent Ivie joined the Border Patrol in 2008.
James Turgal, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Phoenix, declined to answer any questions about the shooting or what it meant in a larger perspective, saying multiple times he wanted to “stay on message” about the tragic loss of life.
Arizona joint field commander for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Jeff Self, said Agent Ivie died at the “hands of criminals operating” near Naco and that he died protecting the nations from those “who threaten our way of life.”
Agent Ivie is survived by his wife and two children, both young girls. Ivie was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as a lay counselor. Agent ivie was a native of Provo, Utah.
Arizona’s Governor Brewer ordered flags flown at half-staff. “Let this tragedy serve as a stark reminder of the dangers encountered by the brave men and women who guard our borders and protect our nation. As with all members of our law enforcement and military, these officers risk their lives to keep us safe, secure and free. They deserve our gratitude. I have ordered that flags at all State buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset today, October 2, 2012, and again on the day of his interment, for which services are pending.”