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October 4, 2012

Wounded border agent released from hospital

NACO, Ariz. — Investigators were scouring a rugged area near the U.S.-Mexico line looking for evidence in the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent.

Nicholas Ivie and a colleague were on patrol in the desert near Naco, Ariz., about 100 miles from Tucson, when gunfire broke out shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Border Patrol.

Ivie, 30, was killed. The other agent, whose name hasn’t been released, was released from the hospital after being shot in the ankle and buttocks.

It was the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.

No arrests have been made. Authorities suspect that more than one person fired at the agents.

No weapons have been found, according to a federal law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Agents and deputies were searching the area on ATVs, horseback and on foot with up to four helicopters overhead in the southern foothills of the Mule Mountains that’s considered a known smuggling area.

“It’s been a long day for us but it’s been longer for no one more than a wife whose husband is not coming home. It’s been longer for two children whose father is not coming home, and that is what is going to strengthen our resolve” to find those responsible and enforce the law, said Jeffrey Self, commander of Customs and Border Protection’s Arizona joint field command.

Ivie lived in Sierra Vista with his wife and their two young daughters.

President Barack Obama called Ivie’s family Tuesday to offer condolences and to express his gratitude for Ivie’s “selfless service to his nation,” a White House statement said. Obama made it clear that the administration “was doing everything it could to locate those responsible.”

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