By Kami Klein
A U.S. Border Patrol agent and his partner were attacked in the Big Bend Sector of Culberson County in Texas. Agent Rogelio Martinez died this morning from his injuries sustained in the attack,while his partner,who has not been identified, is still hospitalized in serious condition. According to press releases, there was no gunfire involved in the incident. Both men sustained blunt force trauma to the head.
Agent Martinez, 36 had been a border patrol agent since August 2013. He and his partner were responding to activity while on patrol near interstate 10 in the Van Horn station area. The region’s mountains and the Rio Grande do not offer the best crossing opportunities for illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico. The Border Patrol records show that the Big Bend area only accounted for only about 1 percent of the more than 61,000 apprehensions that have been made along the Southwest border from October 2016 to May 2016..
map of Culberson County Texas
After the attack, Agent Martinez’s partner was able to report that they were both injured and needed assistance. When discovered, the two were transported to a local hospital. Border Patrol agents and the Culberson county Sheriff’s Department secured the scene and are searching for witnesses or potential suspects. The investigation has since been turned over to the FBI.
According to a news report with NBC news, Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council labor union and a patrol agent, said the Martinez was hit several times in the head with a blunt object, possibly a large rock.
“We’ve had agents, a good friend of mine actually almost lost his eye. It happens quite a bit, unfortunately,” Cabrera said, adding that patrol vehicles, including helicopters, have been damaged by the throwing of rocks.
Cabrera said the type of rocks that agents are struck with are large in size, approximately as big as a grapefruit or softball. Border Patrol agents have also reported the use of Concrete blocks.
Fox news reported that although few details about the incident have been released, Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Fox News on Monday it appeared Martinez and the second agent were “ambushed” by a group of illegal immigrants.
“We don’t know exactly what happened because we weren’t there. However, just from agents that were working in the area, reports are saying it was an attack and it would appear to be an ambush,” Judd said.
As of Monday afternoon no suspects have been apprehended.
The attack compelled a tweet from President Trump saying,
“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!”
Last year, Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan first revealed an increase of attacks in October and November of last year during testimony before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, where there had been a total of 149 incidents of illegals assaulting guards, Acknowledging the more that 200 percent increase in assaults on agents this year, Morgan testified that Border Patrol agents are “the most assaulted federal law enforcement (agents) in the United States. More than 7,400 Border Patrol agents have been assaulted since 2006. That rose in 2016 by 20%, and year-to-date, we’re seeing an increase of assaults of 200% from the previous year-to-date. It’s a dangerous job.”
Sources: Fox news, NBC news, Briebart news, U.S. Customs and Border Protection