Authorities are searching Texas' Big Bend area for potential suspects and witnesses after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was fatally injured responding to activity there.[[458668403, R]]
Border Patrol officials said the agents were on patrol in Culberson County in the Big Bend Sector of the Texas border.
Agent Rogelio Martinez died Sunday morning as a result of injuries he and his partner sustained after responding to "activity" while on patrol on Interstate 10 near Van Horn, according to a statement from Border Patrol. It wasn't immediately clear when the incident occurred.
Agent Martinez's partner radioed that he and his partner were injured and needed help. Agents reportedly responded and provided medical care and took the two agents to the hospital.
Border Patrol spokesmen said they could not provide any details Sunday on what caused the agent's injuries or what led to them. Spokesman Carlos Diaz says the FBI has taken over the investigation.
Martinez's partner is in serious condition. His name wasn't released. Martinez had been a border agent since August, 2013 and was from El Paso.
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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz issued a statement on Sunday afternoon calling the incident an "Attack on Two Big Bend Sector Border Patrol Agents."
“This is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them," Cruz said.
"We are grateful for the courage and sacrifice of our border agents who have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe. I remain fully committed to working with the Border Patrol to provide them with all the resources they need to safeguard our nation.”
President Donald Trump commented about the incident on Twitter Sunday night amid a series of unrelated tweets.
"We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible," Trump's tweet read. He also reiterated his call for a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico.
Border Patrol records show that Big Bend accounted for about 1 percent of the more than 61,000 apprehensions its agents made along the Southwest border between October 2016 and May 2017. The region's mountains and the Rio Grande make it a difficult area for people to cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico.
The Border Patrol website lists 38 agents who have died since late 2003, some attacked while working along the border, and other fatalities in traffic accidents. It lists one other agent death in the line of duty this year.