Brian Terry was an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol, and a member of the BORTAC special response team. He had three years of experience with the Border Patrol, plus a military background. His four-man team suspected that Mexican bandit gangs were targeting illegal aliens for robbery in their area. They were right. Around 11:00 PM on Tuesday night, Agent Terry was killed in a fierce gun battle in southern Arizona, ten miles north of the Mexican border. Four suspects are currently in custody, with a fifth on the loose, and described as “potentially dangerous.”
Another Border Patrol agent was killed by a drunk driver in September, while a third was shot in San Diego County in July 2009. The unsolved March murder of rancher Rob Krentz, shot along with his dog after years of threats and vandalism from illegals rampaging through his property, brought increased attention to border security. The murder of Agent Terry produced further statements of concern from both Republicans and Democrats.
Quoted in the Arizona Republic, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, “The increased violence in the border region demands that Congress provide the necessary resources and personnel to ensure the safety of all Americans, especially border patrol agents stationed on the border and fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to secure our border.”
“While there have been some small measures of progress in securing the border, Agent Terry’s murder and the still-unsolved slaying of rancher Robert Krentz on his land in Cochise County in March are painful reminders that much more remains to be done,” said Democrat Representative Gabrielle Giffords. She also pointed out that Agent Terry’s area is responsible for “almost 50 percent of the drug seizures by the entire Border Patrol nationwide.”
The governor of Arizona, Republican Jan Brewer, declared, “Although we needed no reminder of the ever increasing dangers along our southern border, this tragedy serves as stark notice that the threats facing all who serve in protecting our state and nation are real, and are increasing on a daily basis”
Back in May, President Obama “authorized the deployment of up to an additional 1,200 National Guard troops to the Southwest border to provide support for surveillance, reconnaissance and narcotics enforcement to augment CBP and U.S. Customs and Immigration (ICE) authorities already in place,” as reported by Fox News. $600 million in “supplemental funds for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities” were also requested.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano describes this as “historic investments in personnel, technology, and infrastructure.” This is self-evidently false, or at least exaggerated, as the National Guard deployment ordered by President Bush was five times as large. The recent “Broken Neighbor, Broken Border” report from the House Immigration Reform Caucus called for an even larger force of 25,000… and recommended they come ready for combat, rather than just surveillance. These bandits are not thought to have been connected to the Mexican drug cartels, but those guys are packing military hardware, and some of it has not been out of military hands for very long.
Overwhelming force dissuades violence. Swarms of illegals moving across the border draw the attention of predators, while more are concealed in their midst. On Tuesday night, in a desolate strip of land near the midnight hour, a group of five bandits decided they liked their odds against four brave Border Patrol agents. Agent Brian Terry is dead because of that bloody calculation. He is honored, along with other fallen law enforcement officers, at the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Update: The Nogales International of Arizona is reporting the fifth suspect in Terry’s murder has been apprehended, while traveling on foot from the Peck Canyon area, where the gun battle took place.
Update 2: It looks like the Nogales International report was premature. As of Thursday morning, the authorities say they’re still hunting for the fifth suspect.