Border Patrol agent dies in Rio Rico gunbattle
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Border Patrol agent dies in Rio Rico gunbattle

Hunt still on for fifth suspect in death of Agent Brian Terry

Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was shot to death in a gunbattle north of Nogales late Tuesday, a spokesman said.

Terry, 40, encountered a group of five suspected bandits just after 11 p.m. in the Peck Canyon area west of Rio Rico when he was shot.

Terry, a member of the agency's BORTAC SWAT team, was killed when he and fellow agents exchanged gunfire with the bandits, said FBI spokeswoman Brenda Nath.

Four have been arrested. Border Patrol and Department of Public Safety officers were using dogs to search for another suspect, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Eric Cantu said.

The Nogales International reported that a fifth suspect was apparently captured, but later a law enforcement source said that was a false alarm.

Authorities are still seeking the fifth suspect, who was last seen heading in the direction of the border on foot, wearing blue pants and a blue-and-white-striped shirt. Officers in helicopters and on horseback searched the hills in the area for most of the day.

The FBI and Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office are investigating the Terry's death.

Terry was a native of Detroit, Mich., and is survived by his parents, a brother and two sisters.

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Terry had served with the Border Patrol for three years. He was a Marine for three years, until 1994. Terry was a police officer in Michigan before joining the Border Patrol, said Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol agents’ union Local 2544.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss," said CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin. "Our commitment to Agent Terry and his family is that we will do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for this despicable act."

Terry is the third Border Patrol agent killed on duty in 2010. Mark Van Doren was killed in an auto accident in Texas in May, and Michael V. Gallagher was killed by a drunk driver in September near Casa Grande on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

Since 1919, 111 agents have died in the line of duty.

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Customs and Border Protection

Agent Brian A. Terry

Border Patrol deaths

At least 10 Border Patrol agents have fallen in the line of duty in the Tucson Sector. Earlier deaths:

  • Michael V. Gallagher, auto crash, 2010
  • David Webb, auto crash, 2006
  • Nicholas Greenig, auto crash, 2006
  • George DeBates, auto crash, 2004
  • Alexander Kirpnick, shot by drug smugglers, 1998
  • Victor Ochoa, auto crash, 1983
  • George Pringle, auto crash, 1940
  • Lon Parker, killed in shootout with bootleggers, 1926
  • William McKee, shot by bootleggers, 1926