The FBI is investigating what U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is calling an attack on two border patrol agents that left one dead and the other wounded Sunday as they were on patrol in West Texas.
In a news release issued late Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials identified the deceased agent as Rogelio Martinez, 36, of El Paso. The agency did not release details of what occurred.
Jeanette Harper, with the FBI’s El Paso office, said Sunday evening that authorities were still gathering facts and that contrary to reports from other news outlets, there was no shooting.
“They were not fired upon,” Harper said. “There are so many different agencies working together that we need to come together and develop a timeline.”
She said a full account would not be released until Monday.
“Our condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, who was killed this morning in the line of duty,” Cruz said in a statement. “We are also praying for the full recovery of his partner, who was also attacked.”
President Trump tweeted a renewed call to “build the wall” Sunday evening in response to the death.
“Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!”
Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
So far, border patrol officials have said that Martinez was on patrol with his partner in the Van Horn Station area, which is near Interstate 10, about 120 miles east of El Paso when they responded to an activity that was not explained in the release.
Martinez’s partner reported they had been injured and needed assistance, according to the agency, which did not provide a time the incident occurred or what caused the agent’s injuries.
Responding agents provided medical care and both agents were taken to a local hospital, officials said.
Big Bend Sector agents were later told that Martinez died from his injuries, according to the release. His partner remains hospitalized in serious condition, authorities said.
Culberson County Sheriff’s Office deputies aided agents in securing the scene and members from the agency’s special operations group joined air and marine operations in searching for “potential suspects or witnesses,” according to the release.
#CBP mourns the loss of #USBP Agent Rogelio Martinez who passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fellow Agents during this difficult time. #HonorFirst https://t.co/ALpQ30thVk pic.twitter.com/wLcPzEXtKs
— CBP (@CustomsBorder) November 19, 2017
A Culberson sheriff’s office spokesman said deputies were still investigating and could not comment.
Cruz said the death of Martinez in the line of duty 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.”
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said in a statement that she was notified of the incident and that her office is “fully supporting the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of this tragic event.”
“On behalf of the quarter of a million frontline officers and agents of DHS, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Agent Martinez and to the agent who is in serious condition,” she said in the statement.
Van Horn is about 430 miles west of San Antonio.