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.
Two former U.S. soldiers testified at the pre-trial hearing of a one-time comrade charged with killing two unarmed Iraqi boys
U.S. officials have grown increasingly impatient with what they describe as Russia's failure to live up to its commitments in an April 17 agreement reached in Geneva to try to de-escalate the crisis
Congress will need to approve the move before it goes through.
The pictures, flowers and spaces are banked up the entire wall of a gymnasium near Danwon High School in Ansan, on the outskirts of Seoul.
Zhang Zhiru's brief detention underscores nervousness among officials about the strike, which began on April 14 at a Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd shoe manufacturing complex that employs some 40,000 workers
On Wednesday, Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement that aims to end years of division between the two factions.
Two weeks of scouring the Indian Ocean floor with a U.S. Navy submersible drone had turned up no wreckage.
The winner of the race will inherit a strong but slowing growth rate in the country and will oversee the completion of a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal
The Fallujah dam was recently seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group, which took control of large swathes of the city last December.
Pacific nation that was site of 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958 accuses states of 'flagrant denial of human justice'
The two core EU nations' top diplomats affirmed plans to speed up the signing of a deal to boost trade and political ties
Abdel Aziz came to power in an army coup in 2008, won an election the next year and is a Western ally
In a sign of further delays to restart vital oil exports from the volatile east, rebels said the Tripoli government had failed to fulfil its part of the accord reached this month.
Hamid Babaei, spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission in New York, vehemently rejected U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power's remarks
Kiir had accused the four detainees - a former ruling party official, national security minister, deputy finance minister and ambassador to Washington - of fomenting a coup
The Pentagon criticized Russia's military drills near the border with Ukraine, while Russia demands U.S. stop Ukraine's military operation