A Border Patrol agent was killed and another injured in an early morning shooting Tuesday near Naco, which is about 8 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
A third agent was also with them, but not harmed, according to George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border patrol agents.
According to Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas, the shooting occurred after an alarm was triggered on one of the many sensors along the border, near mile marker 352 on Highway 80, about 1 a.m. The three agents were on horseback and were investigating when they were shot at.
It's not known whether the agents returned fire.
Authorities have identified 30-year-old Nicholas Ivie as the slain agent. He joined the U.S. Border Patrol in January 2008 and was a native of Provo, Utah.
The wounded agent was airlifted to a hospital after being shot in the ankle and buttocks, according to the Department of Homeland Security. His name was not released, but authorities say he is in stable condition.
The agents were assigned to the Brian Terry station in Naco, which is about 100 miles southeast of Tucson.
The Border Patrol station was recently named after Terry, a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits near the border in December 2010. The shooting was later linked to the Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation. It's not known if the weapon used to kill Ivie was part of that program too.
The FBI and Cochise County Sheriff's Office are investigating the shooting. The FBI has pledged all of its resources from across the country to help.
Because the shooting took place in a rugged area, it could take more than a day to collect all the evidence from the scene.
"The FBI is utilizing all necessary resources in conducting this investigation in efforts to ensure those responsible will be brought to justice," said James Turgal, FBI, during an afternoon press conference. "Last night's event demonstrate the danger that law enforcement officers face along the southwest border everyday."
As for suspects, the acting Cochise County Sheriff told the Associated Press that two possible suspects were spotted by air and apprehended in Mexico. But the FBI would not confirm that.
Flags will fly at half staff at the Brian Terry border station in memory of Ivie. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Border Patrol Statements:
Jeffrey D. Self, Commander of the Joint Field Command, Arizona:
"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Agent Ivie's family during this terrible time. This is a tragic loss for Customs and Border Protection. We have an unwavering commitment to pursue and bring the perpetuators of this heinous act to justice."
Acting Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla:
"Tucson Sector mourns the loss of one of our own. It stands as a reminder of the dangers that agents of CBP face every day. We appreciate our state, local, federal and international partners for their support and commitment in seeking justice in this tragedy."
CBP Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar:
"Last night, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection family suffered the loss of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie at the hands of criminals operating on the border near Naco, Arizona. Another agent was also wounded and was treated at a local hospital. Agent Ivie died in the line of duty, protecting our nation against those who threaten our way of life. His death only strengthens our resolve to enforce the rule of law and bring those responsible to justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with Agent Ivie's family and friends in this difficult time."
Statement from Arizona Senator John McCain:
"Early this morning, agents from the U.S. Border Patrol were involved in a shooting near Naco, Arizona. Initial reports indicate that one agent was killed and another seriously injured. While the investigation is still in its early stages, today's events are a tragic reminder of the threats that Border Patrol agents face every day in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with these agents, their families, and all those in the Border Patrol community."
Statement from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the attack on another Border Patrol Agent early this morning. Both agents were on patrol near Bisbee, Arizona when they came under fire from an unknown assailant. This act of violence reminds us of the risks our men and women confront, and the dangers they willingly undertake, while protecting our nation's borders. We are working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to track down those responsible for this inexcusable crime, and to bring them to justice. I have ordered all DHS flags to fly at half staff in honor of our fallen CBP colleague. Together, we stand in solidarity with their families and friends at this difficult time, and pray for the continued safety of all who serve our country."
Statement from Governor Jan Brewer:
"Arizona has lost another Border Patrol agent.
"In the dark hours before daybreak, one agent was killed and another injured while on-duty along Arizona's southern border. It is believed they were responding to an alerted ground sensor in a remote area near Bisbee, a short distance north of the border. In a tragic coincidence, these agents were assigned to Brian Terry Station - newly-dedicated and named for a U.S. Border Patrol agent murdered under similar circumstances in Arizona less than two years ago.
"More recently, in May 2011, we lost two more agents - Eduardo Rojas, Jr. and Hector Clark - when they were killed in a vehicle accident while pursuing suspected drug smugglers near Gila Bend.
"What happens next has become all-too-familiar in Arizona. 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. 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. Four fallen agents in less than two years is the result.
"It has been 558 days since the Obama administration declared the security of the U.S.-Mexico border 'better now than it has ever been.' I'll remember that statement today."
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 10 News for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Originally reported by myfoxphoenix.com