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Manhunt Still Underway for Suspect in Border Patrol Agent's Killing

Officials in Southern Arizona are searching for a suspect in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The Tucson Sector agent was shot late Tuesday night after a confrontation with suspected illegal migrants. From the KJZZ Changing America Desk, Michel Marizco reports.

NOGALES, ARIZ. Agent Brian Terry was killed when he and three other agents encountered a group of border bandits in a remote area of the border called Peck Canyon.

The agents are part of an elite agency unit called BORTAC or Border Patrol Tactical Unit and were formed to hunt down high profile and dangerous targets like the border bandit.

Peck Canyon has long been notorious for bandit activity.

Tom Mitchell moved to Peck Canyon three years ago from New York City.

"I went out and asked the officers what was going on and they said there'd been a shooting and then I got out of their way. I understand an officer has been killed and I'm really sad about that," Mitchell said.

Four suspects were taken into custody, one with a gunshot wound.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said the shooting happened shortly after 11 Tuesday night. By the time paramedics arrived, the agent was dead.

"The area has been completely saturated by law enforcement; the FBI is the lead agency, they're taking care of the investigation," Estrada said.  "And we're hoping that they'll find the people that are responsible and hold them accountable."

The port's outbound inspection teams are also searching for the suspect in the flood of travelers heading south through the Nogales ports of entry.

With reddened eyes and his voice slightly cracking,  Tucson Sector's Deputy Chief Rick Barlow said Terry had joined the agency in 2007.

"This is a stark reminder of the realities we face every day in protecting this border and protecting our communities," he said.

Terry, a former Marine, was 40 years old.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.