Slain agent update
Arrest Made In Shooting Death Of Border Patrol Agent
Posted: Jul 24, 2009 6:33 AM Friday, July 24, 2009 9:33 AM EST Updated: Jul 24, 2009 7:21 PM Friday, July 24, 2009 10:21 PM EST
News 8 has confirmed that the FBI has made a key arrest in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
The suspect was arrested in the San Jose-area in connection to the shooting death of Agent Robert Wimer Rosas.
The FBI is not releasing the suspect's name at this time. However, the San Jose Police Department has confirmed that the suspect is a patient at O'Connor Hospital and was taken into custody Friday evening.
Investigators say they received a cell phone ping from the Rosas' cell phone Friday afternoon, and they traced it up to San Jose.
Rosas, a married father of two young children, was shot shortly after 9 p.m. while responding to a call near Campo, a town in rugged, arid terrain in southeastern San Diego County.
He was shot in the head and multiple times in his body and was dead when backup agents arrived, Slotter said.
Rosas was found outside his patrol vehicle, with blood evidence indicating at least one suspect and possibly more had serious injuries, perhaps by gunfire. Investigators don't yet know how many shots were fired, if Rosas fired any shots himself and how many guns were used.
"It's all possible. I can't definitively say X number of people fired or Agent Rosas got off shots or didn't. I mean, it's too early in the investigation to say that with any certainty," Slotter said.
Investigators said there were searching for at least two suspects.
There was no evidence of drugs at the scene, but investigators were not ruling out anything, including an attack by drug smugglers or human smugglers.
The incident began when Rosas, a resident of El Centro, responded to a call of an illegal entry along the border near Campo, said Richard Barlow, acting chief patrol agent for the San Diego sector.
A short time later, at least one other agent heard gunshots and attempted to contact Rosas by radio. When there was no response, agents went to the scene and found his body near the border fence.
Rosas, a three-year Border Patrol veteran, had a 2-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter, Barlow said.
"Everybody's disgusted, disgusted that a criminal can do this," Barlow said. "The violence against the agents, the violence against this country is something that should not, and will not, be tolerated."
Barlow said he could not confirm reports that Rosas called for backup and then went ahead before anyone arrived. But he said it isn't unusual for agents to work alone along the 60 miles of border in the San Diego sector.
"It is a common occurrence for our agents to start tracking individuals or start pursuing individuals that make an incursion into the United State by himself prior to backup arriving," he said.
Barlow said the area where Rosas was shot wasn't the highest priority for agents, but there had recently been areas of increased activity.
The San Diego sector of the Border Patrol has seen a 22 percent decrease in activity this year after a 7 percent increase in each of the previous two years. Still, Barlow said, agents routinely have rocks thrown at them and are physically assaulted.
The president of the union representing 17,000 Border Patrol agents declined to discuss the details of the shooting but said his organization has long been concerned about staffing levels and situations where agents work alone in the field.
Such situations are not uncommon, said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
"It's fairly common for our agents throughout San Diego County and the rest of the country to work without a partner," Bonner said. "They each have separate vehicles, and it's a matter of concern with us."
Since 1919, 108 Border Patrol agents have died on duty, according to The Officer Down Memorial Page Inc., which tracks law-enforcement deaths. Gunfire was the leading cause with 30 deaths, followed by automobile accidents and aircraft accidents.
Ronbo has lowered the flag at Patriot Point to half mast. Omaha flew by and acknowledged his efforts.
This just in from my friend Carl Braun:
Three arrested in connection with slain Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas
Slain BP Agent Rosas
Whether it was illegal immigrants or drug smugglers is not immediately clear. What is certain is Border Agent Robert Wimer Rosas, was killed in the line of duty by unidentified individuals at 9:15 PM on July 23rd while on patrol.
A three-year veteran of the Border Patrol and working out of the Campo/Pine Valley Station here in the high desert of Southern CA, Agent Rosas was reportedly in pursuit of suspected illegal border crossers with two other agents. They were tracking a group within a hundred yards or so of the border when shots rang out. Agents found Rosas mortally wounded with gunshots to the body and head. FBI and DHS are conducting an investigation and have asked all non-essential personnel including citizen border watchers to stay clear of the area.
KPIX in San Francisco is reporting that two men and one woman were arrested in relation to this case in a San Jose Hospital where they were seeking treatment. Reportedly, a blood sample of one of the assailants was found at the scene. Reports that the Agent may have been shot with his own weapon are unconfirmed at this time.
This tragedy underscores the need for a better fence and tighter control over the United States Border with Mexico. It also signals an escalation of the violence on this side of the fence or lack thereof. The area where the agent was killed is still only protected by the decades old ten-foot fence that smugglers and illegal immigrants have been scaling or crawling under since it was installed.
Local residents and citizen border watchers are stricken with grief, many of whom knew and worked with Agent Rosas.
“This is a tragedy and our hearts go out to the Agents family and co-workers. It is a dangerous job made more so by shortages in manpower and a relatively open border despite reports to the contrary. The duty of our elected officials is on the line here, our local, state and federal government needs to step in and secure the borders of this country now. It is a shame on every elected official that they actually let this go so far. Our Border Patrol agents are some of Americas finest and hardest working agents in law enforcement and for this they get treated like second-rate citizens with little if any support from 95% of the politicians. Politicians have taken a sworn oath to protect and serve this country, it is time that they made good on that OATH ” Said Ken Dreger Director of The Homeland Security Policy Institute Group, sponsor of the Border Patrol Auxiliary.
Agent Rosas is survived by a wife and two small children. Flags across the area are flying at half-staff.