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Border agents in fatal shooting had radio contact

Associated Press Modified: November 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012

The report from the sheriff's office details the painstaking efforts to document the scene, collecting bullet casings, tracking unidentified footprints and following a blood trail. It mentioned six spent rifle casings clustered in the area, and that the only items not found holstered in Ivie's belt were his flashlight and pistol.

"His radio was still on/operating," the report stated.

While the report sheds some light on the shooting, key details remained unanswered, such as just why Ivie opened fire contrary to training that dictates agents should only discharge their weapons once they have identified a suspect as hostile.

"None of them should have started firing unless they were returning fire from a smuggler or whatever the perpetrator might have been," said retired Border Patrol Agent Jim Dorcy.

While it's clear something went terribly wrong, no one is publicly questioning Ivie's competency or his training. He's been described by fellow agents as an experienced law enforcement officer with six years at the Border Patrol, the kind of agent others looked up to.

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, a former Border Patrol sector chief in El Paso, said agents are trained for every potential scenario, but he noted "things often go contrary to plan," especially in a nighttime situation "in an area you know you might encounter bad guys."

"Your heart is racing. You're trying to identify who is where. Ideally, you're in communication with other agents, but it's not a finite situation where everything always works out," Reyes said. "That said, the job is dangerous enough when you're up against the bad guys, so you want to make sure you avoid any kind confrontation among what is commonly referred to as 'friendlies,' but we just don't know what happened out there yet."