SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 3, 2012

Border Patrol agent shot, killed on patrol in Ariz.

(Continued)

Terry’s shooting was later linked to the government’s “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling 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 those illegal weapons are still being used in border violence.

“There’s no way to know at this point how the agent was killed, but because of Operation Fast and Furious, we’ll wonder for years if the guns used in any killing along the border were part of an ill-advised gun-walking strategy,” Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a written statement.

The Terry family said that the shooting was a “graphic reminder of the inherent dangers that threaten the safety of those who live and work near the border.”

Authorities set up a checkpoint on a dirt road about seven miles southeast of Bisbee. A Border Patrol truck and another vehicle carrying two portable toilets were allowed to drive past the roadblock.

Agents at the checkpoint declined to comment and barred reporters from going further. Two helicopters from federal immigration agencies could be seen from a distance circling the area. And a fugitive-chase team could be seen staging on a roadside.

The area near the shooting is scattered with houses, trailers and ranchettes. Mesquite trees and creosote bushes dotted the landscape, and a mountain range stands nearby to the west.

The U.S. government has put thousands of sensors along the border that, when tripped, alert dispatchers that they should send agents to a particular location.

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