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TX Border Patrol Agent May Have Fallen to Death

22 November 2017

During a news conference at the bureau's El Paso office, Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. said investigators are still trying to "gather the facts", but they are now treating it as an assault on a federal officer.

Agent Rogelio Martinez died Sunday as a result of injuries sustained while on patrol in the Big Bend area. They provided the injured Agents with immediate medical care and transported them to a local Van Horn hospital.

The FBI said both men were found injured late Saturday in a culvert area - a tunnel structure used for water drainage - in southwest Texas.

An FBI spokeswoman told the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday that the agents were "not fired upon", but she didn't elaborate.

A USA official with knowledge of the investigation told the Associated Press on Monday that Martinez was found at the bottom of the culvert and investigators believe he may have fallen. The official said Martinez's partner, who radioed for help, was still recovering in the hospital and has no memory of what happened. Martinez's partner is in serious condition.

"We owe a great deal of gratitude to the courageous men and women of the United States Border Patrol who serve every day to protect our homeland", said Governor Abbott.

"It's super rare for agents to be attacked and killed", said Jeremy Slack, a migration expert and professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. When asked if Trump was correct in the description, Buie said that he had not briefed the president on the case.

On Monday, uncertainty over what happened to the agents continued to grow.

Martinez had planned a get together at his El Paso home to watch his Raiders play the New England Patriots in Mexico City on Sunday, his father Jose Martinez told the El Paso Times. Martinez died from the injuries he suffered early Sunday morning.

Jose Martinez says he told his son that his job was too unsafe, but Rogelio Martinez enjoyed his work and wanted to defend the US from terrorists and drugs traffickers. I want to defend my country from terrorists.

Martinez's mother, Elvia Martinez, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she and her husband are also awaiting more information.

"He was a very accomplished person and loved his work", she said tearfully.

The only certainty at this point is that the public will not know exactly what occurred until the Federal Bureau of Investigation decides it is appropriate to release more information. FBI officials said Tuesday that officers are investigating the incident as a "potential physical assault" on federal officers, but said there are several scenarios that might have led to the agents' injuries.

National Border Patrol Council spokesman Chris Cabrera has known of at least 40 fallen agents since he joined the force in 2001.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed Martinez, an El Paso native who had been an agent since 2013.

The officials wouldn't say why they believe the agents might have been attacked.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz took a similar approach in a news release: 'We are grateful for the courage and sacrifice of our border agents who have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe'. The FBI is working closely with U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (including CBP Air and Marine), Texas Department of Public Safety, and United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas. We will seek out and bring justice those responsible. "We will, and must, build the Wall!" The region's mountains make it a hard area for people to cross illegally into the US from Mexico.

The FBI is investigating the injuries that left one Border Patrol agent dead and another severely injured as a "potential assault", officials said.

TX Border Patrol Agent May Have Fallen to Death