BISBEE, Ariz. — A preliminary investigation has found that friendly fire likely killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and wounded another in the rugged Arizona desert near the Mexico border, the FBI said yesterday.
“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 and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents,” according to a statement released yesterday evening.
“The FBI is utilizing all necessary investigative, forensic and analytical resources in the course of this investigation. … 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,” the statement said.
Ivie, who was on horse-patrol duty early Tuesday, and two other agents were responding to reports of a tripped ground sensor when the shooting took place in the barren desert between Bisbee and Naco, in southeastern Arizona.
One of the other agents who was shot in the buttocks and ankle is recovering at home, Customs and Border Protection officials said. The third agent was not injured. Authorities have not released their names.
The killing sparked a manhunt along a corridor known for human and drug smuggling near the Mule Mountains.