The shooting death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent has again brought Arizona into the spotlight in the national immigration debate. Arizona lawmakers called for additional efforts to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot dead and another wounded when they came under fire on Tuesday while responding to a tripped ground sensor in a drug smuggling corridor in Arizona near the border with Mexico, authorities said.
Authorities said three agents were on foot about 5 miles (8 km) north of the border in rocky terrain when gunfire erupted well before daybreak, but provided few additional details on the circumstances of the violence.
"As they were walking up the trail, they reported taking gunfire," Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said. "We have unknown suspect or suspects at this point."
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The shooting marked the fourth conflict-related death of a Border Patrol agent in Arizona in less than two years and reignited concerns about border security in a state that is already at the forefront of the national immigration debate.
"Flags will be lowered in honor of the slain agent. Elected officials will vow to find those responsible. Arizonans and Americans will grieve, and they should. But this ought not only be a day of tears," Republican Governor Jan Brewer said in a statement.
"There should be anger, too. Righteous anger - at the kind of evil that causes sorrow this deep, and at the federal failure and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and our Border Patrol in harm's way," added Brewer, a vocal foe of President Barack Obama's administration on immigration.