- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed and another wounded in a shooting early Tuesday in Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico line, according to the Border Patrol.

The agents were shot while patrolling on horseback in Naco, Ariz., at about 1:50 a.m. MST Tuesday, the Border Patrol said in a statement.

The agents who were shot were on patrol with a third agent, who was not harmed, according to George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border patrol agents.

Mr. McCubbin said he had no further information regarding the shooting.

The wounded agent was airlifted to a hospital after being shot in the ankle and buttocks, the Border Patrol said. He is in surgery and expected to recover, Mr. McCubbin said.

Authorities have not identified the agents who were assigned to the Naco station, about 100 miles southeast of Tucson.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee who first initiated the congressional probe into the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation, said Border Patrol agents put their lives on the line every day to stop the border crossers and drug cartel members who venture illegally into the United States.

“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,” he said. “It’s a sad commentary. We all mourn for the Border Patrol agent who was killed near the border station named after another fallen hero and fellow agent, Brian Terry.”

Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits near the border in December 2010, was the last U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot on duty. The shooting later was linked to the Fast and Furious operation. The Border Patrol station in Naco was recently named after Terry.

The FBI and the Cochise County sheriff’s office, which are investigating the shooting, did not immediately return calls Tuesday morning.

Jerry Seper of The Washington Times contributed to this article.

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