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Update: BP agent shot near Arivaca wounded multiple times

A 21-year veteran of the Border Patrol was shot multiple times at close range by an unknown number of people while responding to a sensor hit south of Arivaca, Ariz., early Tuesday morning, authorities said. 

During a press conference Wednesday at BP's Tucson Sector's headquarters, Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch offered few new details about the shooting, saying only that the agent was attacked by an "unknown number of assailants," who fired "several shots at the agent in close proximity." 

The agent, whose name has not been released, was investigating "sensor activity" around 4:30 a.m., near Ruby Road and Chimney Canyon, about 50 miles southwest of Tucson, a remote area characterized as "rural and mountainous." 

The agent was stuck several times and "it is believed that he returned fire," Karisch said, who wouldn't provide details on the agent's injuries.

An experienced paramedic, the agent was able to care for his own wounds and reach his vehicle, where he called for emergency assistance, Karisch said. 

The Border Patrol's tactical unit, along with helicopters from Air and Marine, was immediately deployed, and agents apprehended "multiple" people believed to be in the country without authorization, Karisch said. However, he was careful to note that officials had yet to establish that any of those people were involved in the shooting. 

"We did take several individuals into custody on immigration violations, but we have yet to tie any of them to the actual shooting," Karisch said. 

The FBI is leading the investigation with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office. 

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The agent was flown to a Tucson hospital for treatment, and Karisch said that he was stable and in "good spirits." 

Karisch would not detail the agent's wounds, saying only that the agency would release more information his condition later. 

"We're not going to get into particulars, I know there's been some stuff out there, but at this point in time, we will be releasing additional information later on his condition," Karisch said. 

Karisch said that being a Border Patrol agent was "an extremely dangerous job" and that he would tell fellow agents to "always keep your guard up when you're patrolling the border or performing law enforcement duties."

 It goes without saying, we know the inherent dangers of this profession, but we go on to perform these duties to protect our country," Karisch said. 

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch during a press conference at the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector headquarters.