World Bulletin/News Desk
Friendly fire probably killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona near the Mexican border this week, the FBI said on Friday, citing "strong preliminary indications" from the ongoing investigation.
Before daybreak on Tuesday, Nicholas Ivie was one of three agents responding on foot to a tripped ground sensor, in a well-known smuggling corridor, when gunfire erupted.
They were a few miles north of the border, near the tiny border town of Naco. A second agent was wounded in the incident, but has since been released from the hospital, and the third agent was unharmed.
Ivie was the fourth Border Patrol agent to die in violent circumstances in less than two years in Arizona. His death heightened concern about border security in a state at the forefront of the national immigration debate.
"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," the FBI said in a statement.
Commander Jeffrey Self of the Customs and Border Protection's joint field command in Arizona told reporters he met with the Ivie family on Friday about the possibility the shooting was a "tragic accident, the result of friendly fire."
U.S. authorities had previously released scant details about the circumstances of the shootings.
The agents were tracking footprints before the incident, said Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, which has jurisdiction over the area and is investigating the shootings along with the FBI.
Mexican officials said two men were arrested this week in a military operation near the city of Agua Prieta, a few miles across the border from the shooting scene.
U.S. authorities have declined to comment on those arrests. Capas said her office had not been officially notified of any arrests.
Ivie, 30, had been an agent for over six years, Self said.
Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, on Friday defended her comments made soon after the shooting, in which she criticized the federal government for inaction on securing the porous border with Mexico.
"The governor does not make statements lightly on something like this," Benson said. "Her initial remarks were based upon the best information available at the time from law enforcement. Whether this was a friendly fire incident or not, that does not change the tragedy that has occurred here."
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, held talks with law enforcement officials on Friday at the Border Patrol station where Ivie worked.
Kevin Goates, the Ivie family spokesman, declined to comment on the FBI announcement of the preliminary findings in the case.
He said Napolitano had met with Ivie's widow, Christy, and other family members.
Dominic Ongwen, ex-Lord’s Resistance Army commander, faces 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity
The blast happened at a mosque in the staff quarters area of the University of Maiduguri and is thought to have been carried out by a teenage girl, a local resident and a lecturer said
Morales said Guatemala had no contingency plans in case massive deportations did happen. But he stressed the incoming US leader would have to get lawmakers' consent to follow through with his threat.
52 troops had died in fighting since January 1 in and around Benghazi.
UK, Australia declined to sign final statement at Sunday’s Mideast peace conference in Paris
Trump told The Times and Bild newspapers that Brexit would be a "great thing", and on a trade deal said he would "work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly."
Barred from traveling abroad since 2015, Raed Salah faces fresh travel ban in light of impending release from prison
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday he was sure that Britain and the US could conclude a free trade deal that was in their mutual interests after President-elect Donald Trump said he was keen for one.
Iraqi authorities typically blame such attacks on embattled ISIL extremist group
Irish nationalist party refuses to nominate leader to local parliament, forcing new elections to power-sharing body
Prevalence of slain militants’ bodies in areas recently captured from ISIL raises fears of possible spread of disease
Intervention comes after diplomatic spat over slogan-covered Serbian train which tried to enter Kosovo
An AMISOM truck rammed into a civilian minibus on outskirts of Mogadishu
Israel has also rearrested journalist Mohamed al-Qeeq, who waged 94-day hunger strike in 2015
A professor of veterinary medicine and a teenager among casualties
Kenyans will go to the polls on August 8 in what is set to be a hard-fought general election decided in large part by the core support of candidates' ethnic constituencies.