* Shooting reignites concerns about Arizona border security
* No suspects identified; Mexican police, army searching
(Adds White House statement, paragraph 14)
NACO, Ariz., Oct 2 (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent
was shot dead and another wounded when they came under fire on
Tuesday while responding to a tripped ground sensor in a drug
smuggling corridor in Arizona near the border with Mexico,
Authorities said three agents were on foot about 5 miles (8
km) north of the border in rocky terrain when gunfire erupted
well before daybreak, but provided few additional details on the
circumstances of the violence.
"As they were walking up the trail, they reported taking
gunfire," Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said.
"We have unknown suspect or suspects at this point."
The shooting marked the fourth conflict-related death of a
Border Patrol agent in Arizona in less than two years and
reignited concerns about border security in a state that is
already at the forefront of the national immigration debate.
"Flags will be lowered in honor of the slain agent. Elected
officials will vow to find those responsible. Arizonans and
Americans will grieve, and they should. But this ought not only
be a day of tears," Republican Governor Jan Brewer said in a
"There should be anger, too. Righteous anger - at the kind
of evil that causes sorrow this deep, and at the federal failure
and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and
our Border Patrol in harm's way," added Brewer, a vocal foe of
President Barack Obama's administration on immigration.
Brewer, citing what she described as a federal failure to
secure Arizona's southern border, signed a broad immigration
crackdown into law in 2010 to try to crack down on the flow of
illegal immigrants into the state where an estimated 360,000
undocumented people live.
Critics of the law, which includes a requirement that police
check the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect of
being in the country illegally, have said it could lead to
The shooting took place near the border town of Naco,
southeast of Tucson, which remains a corridor for smuggling
marijuana and people, despite the construction of a tall, steel
fence along the border.
"We need to redouble our efforts to secure the border and
ensure the safety of Border Patrol agents," U.S. Democratic
Representative Ron Barber, who represents the southern Arizona
district where the shooting occurred, said in a statement.
Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene at 1:33 a.m.
local time (4:33 a.m. EDT/0833 GMT) and found one agent dead and
another with non-life-threatening injuries, Capas said. A third
was unharmed. FBI agents were also investigating.
Across the border from Naco in a Mexican town of the same
name, Mexican police said a team of soldiers and federal and
local police was searching for a suspect or suspects in the
case. "We have no information about anybody being detained,"
said a Naco police officer who declined to be named.
The Border Patrol identified the slain agent as Nicholas
Ivie, 30, who was originally from Utah and had worked for the
agency since 2008.
President Obama called Ivie's family and expressed his
sadness for the family's loss and his gratitude for Ivie's
service to his nation, according to a White House statement.
Obama said his administration was doing everything it could to
locate those responsible.
The agents had been responding to a sensor, which picks up
on movement or vibrations in areas authorities suspect are used
by drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. When an alert is
triggered, agents have the option to respond.
Capas said the agents who were shot were assigned to the
Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station, named after an agent whose
2010 death in the line of duty in Arizona borderlands was linked
to a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled to Mexico.
In that case, two guns tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the "Fast and Furious" sting
operation, which let weapons slip into Mexico, were retrieved
from the spot where Terry died in a shoot-out with bandits. It
was unclear if the weapons were used in his murder.
Two Border Patrol agents were killed last year in an
accident during a car chase with smugglers near Phoenix.
(Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix, Tim Gaynor
and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City, Daniel Trotta in New York, and
Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing
by Stacey Joyce, Mohammad Zargham and Lisa Shumaker)
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