NACO, Ariz. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano travels to Arizona today to express her condolences to the family of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, who was shot and killed last week. Napolitano will also meet with law enforcement authorities in southern Arizona about the investigation into the agent's death.
The FBI is investigating the possibility that the shooting which killed Ivie and wounded another Border Patrol Agent was a case of friendly fire, a law enforcement official told CBS News Thursday.
The probe is looking into whether the two agents exchanged gunfire Tuesday in the mistaken belief that each was being fired on by a hostile gunman. The shootings occurred near Bisbee, Ariz.
The shootings occurred in a rugged hilly area about five miles north of the border near Bisbee, as Nicholas Ivie and two other agents responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. Ivie was fatally shot. The wounded agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks and released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. The third agent wasn't injured.
Ivie's death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.
On Tuesday after the latest shooting, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said "there's no way to know at this point how the agent was killed, but because of Operation Fast and Furious, we'll wonder for years if the guns used in any killing along the border were part of an ill-advised gun-walking strategy sanctioned by the federal government." Early investigative work by Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought Fast and Furious to light in early 2011.
Twenty-six Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty since 2002.
On Thursday night mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember a U.S. Border Patrol Agent who was killed in a shooting last week.
At a church in this small border town about a hundred people joined to support the family of Ivie, who was remembered as a humble man.
CBS Affiliate KOLD reports Joel Ivie reminisced about his younger brother's short life, and said he spent his final moments doing what he loved.
A priest led the crowd through prayer and talked about respect and appreciation for law enforcement.
The funeral for Ivie is set for Monday in Sierra Vista, Ariz., KPHO reports.