SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) — Family members and hundreds of uniformed law enforcement officers gathered Monday to mourn the U.S. Border Patrol agent killed last week in an apparent case of friendly fire, remembering him as a family man who wouldn’t want loved ones and colleagues shedding tears over his death.
Agent Nicholas Ivie was killed Tuesday as he and two other agents responded to a sensor alarm aimed at detecting smugglers crossing into the U.S. The shooting occurred at night about five miles north of the border near Bisbee.
The FBI said it appeared to be friendly fire involving only the agents. An investigation was ongoing.
“If Nick were here he’d say, ‘Guys, I’m taken care of. Just take care of my girls, my wife and my family,’” his brother Joel Ivie, also an agent, said during the funeral.
Dozens of agents on horseback lined the street outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting house, leading with them Ivie’s riderless horse, nicknamed Mouse for his rounded ears.
“He loved that horse,” his brother said.
Meanwhile, the investigation continued into the shooting that also injured another agent.
The head of the U.S. Border Patrol agents’ union said Ivie apparently opened fire on his two colleagues thinking they were armed smugglers, and was killed when they shot back.
Ivie apparently opened fire first but it remained unclear why, National Border Patrol Council President George McCubbin said.
“I don’t know what it was he saw or heard that triggered this whole event,” McCubbin said. “Unfortunately it resulted in his death and another agent injured.”
McCubbin and Acting Cochise County Sheriff Rod Rothrock said Ivie knew the two other agents also were heading to the area on foot, and they knew he was responding, but the three apparently didn’t know they were so close.
“It was dark, very, very rugged terrain, and what they could see of each other was further obscured by the fact that there was brush and cacti and stuff like that between them,” Rothrock said. “I have no doubt that these agents were in as heightened a state of alert as you can get due to the proximity to the border and the history of trafficking in that area.”
Rothrock said that when the agents spotted each other in the dark, “they apparently took defensive postures, which was probably interpreted as aggressive postures — like readying your weapons, for example.”
Ivie, 30, died at the scene. The other agent was wounded but has since been released from the hospital. The third agent was unharmed.
Ivie’s death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican gunmen that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.
Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.
More Related Stories
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Moore officials: Funds for "safe rooms" were held up by red tape
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Rescue crews race to find tornado survivors
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Hundreds of low-wage federally contracted workers strike in D.C.
- Okla. mother's tearful reunion with her 8-year-old son
- New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination
- Study: Salt Lake City is gay parenting capital of the U.S.
- Inhofe and Coburn: Red state hypocrites
- Teen activist to meet with Abercrombie CEO
- Watch: Family emerges from storm shelter after tornado
- Must-see morning clip: Barackalypse Now
- Okla. tornado survivor reunited with dog trapped in rubble live on camera
- Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
- Oklahoma death count confirmed at 24, 9 children
- Frantic parents search for children in tornado's wake
- Crews dig through rubble after deadly tornado
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11