The head of the Border Patrol agents union has said he believes those who carried out the shooting probably had time to escape in the early morning darkness before authorities could seal off the area and that he doubted that whoever shot the agents would still be hiding in the area.
In nearby Sierra Vista, Ariz., family members described Ivie as a devoted Mormon who developed a love for the country’s people and culture while serving on a mission in Mexico City.
Ivie’s brother, Chris Ivie, remembered that his brother came across a pregnant woman one time while on patrol who had lost her shoes and had her feet cut up. “He carried that woman a mile and a half to where she could receive the proper help that she needed,” Chris Ivie said.
Ivie’s death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.
Terry’s shooting was later linked to that “Fast and Furious” operation, which allowed people suspected of illegally buying guns for others to walk away from gun shops with weapons, rather than be arrested.
Authorities intended to track the guns into Mexico. Two rifles found at the scene of Terry’s shooting were bought by a member of the gun-smuggling ring being investigated. Critics of the operation say any shooting along the border now will raise the specter that those illegal weapons are still being used.
Twenty-six Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty since 2002.