FBI Isn't Sure Whether Border Agents Were Attacked

Authorities believe men may have fallen
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2017 1:48 AM CST
FBI Thinks Border Patrol Agent May Have Fallen to Death
FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. speaks during a press conference at the FBI field office on Tuesday in El Paso, Texas.   (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP)

After Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was fatally injured and his partner badly hurt in the Big Bend area of West Texas just before midnight Saturday, officials and lawmakers spoke of an attack, and a union spokesman said he believed rocks were involved. The FBI, however, now says the incident is being investigated as a "potential assault" and that other scenarios are possible, the AP reports. Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo says that in rugged terrain on a moonless night, it's possible that both men were injured after falling into the 9-foot-deep culvert where they were found, reports the Dallas Morning News. He says the injuries to Martinez were "very consistent with a fall," though it's not clear how his partner was also injured after radioing for help.

The partner is still hospitalized with serious injuries, and a law enforcement source tells the AP that he has no memory of what happened. Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the union that represents Border Patrol officers, says it is "insulting" to suggest the men were not attacked, the Los Angeles Times reports. "There's no way he fell," Cabrera says of Martinez. "Border Patrol agents are like mountain goats. They don't fall. Especially two at the same spot." At a Tuesday briefing in El Paso, FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. stressed that the agency is "aggressively investigating all leads." President Trump, who says the agents were "brutally beaten," repeated his call for a border wall after the incident. (More Border Patrol stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.