Cochise County, AZ - Unknown gunmen, believed to be cartel, fired shots at an on-duty Border Patrol Agent, December 30, 2016, in southern Arizona.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, a Border Patrol agent assigned to a mobile surveillance unit was near Hereford Road when he heard several shots fired nearby. The agent also saw two unknown suspects with rifles in the distance. An unoccupied vehicle near the surveillance vehicle was struck by several bullets, and the shooters may have believed that the agent was within the vehicle. The shots entered the area where the driver would have been sitting if the vehicle had been occupied. At the time, the agent had been patrolling the area near the Brian Terry station.
The Border Patrol Agent, who was not identified, did not return fire and was not injured. Multiple CBP agents and Cochise County Sheriff's Deputies arrived to assist the Border Patrol Agent. A search began for the suspects, who were not located. The attack is still under investigation.
The Brian Terry station is named in memory of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry, who was killed in 2010 in a gun battle while trying to apprehend a group of Mexican cartel gunmen. The cartel gunmen had been trying to steal a shipment of drugs from a rival smuggling group.
Border Patrol Agents are the most assaulted law enforcement officers, according to Border Patrol Commissioner Mark Morgan. He made this statement in testimony in November, 2016, before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee. Almost 150 Border Patrol Agents have been assaulted during the first two fiscal months of 2017, which began in October, 2016. This is an increase of more than 230 percent over the same time period from the previous fiscal year. Since 2009, nearly 7,500 Border Patrol Agents have been assaulted. Commissioner Morgan said "It's a dangerous job."
We send prayers for safety to all Border Patrol Agents and are grateful last night's incident did not result in injury to the Border Patrol Agent who was involved.
What do you think can be done to prevent the escalating violence and attacks against Border Patrol Agents? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.