By: Jessie Degollado
KSAT 12 News Reporter
Soon after Anne Olhrich, a foreign service officer specializing in Latin America and national security, came to teach at St. Mary's University, she said she encountered ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata at various professional gatherings and seminars.
"(He was) a very, very fine officer," she said.
Olhrich said the violent death of any U.S. personnel in a foreign country is proof that "it's not just soldiers. It's law enforcement. It's diplomats."
She said Tuesday's attack that killed Zapata and wounded his partner will result in shock waves.
The repercussions will be felt on numerous levels, she said, "not just diplomatically, with law enforcement, on planning of missions, on sharing of information."
Olhrich, who was assigned to Juarez, Mexico, with the U.S. State Department, said funding levels should be maintained to establish more vetted law enforcement throughout the country, who can be trusted.
Also, Olrich said she is troubled by the reaction of many in the U.S. to the unprecedented attack by Los Zetas on U.S. federal agents.
When she asked some of her students if they had heard about it, Olhrich said they told her, "Yeah, but they were in Mexico. Why were they down there?"
Olhrich said, "We need to educate people why we're down there."
Funeral Preparations For Slain ICE Agent Zapata
The privacy of the family of a slain U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent from South Texas is being protected.
Brownsville police and ICE officers on Thursday blocked the entrance to a road leading to the family home of 32-year-old Special Agent Jaime Zapata.
The Brownsville native and Special Agent Victor Avila were shot Tuesday while in an SUV returning to Mexico City from a meeting in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Avila, who was shot in the leg, was discharged Wednesday from a Houston hospital.
The attackers are sought.
A spokesman for Buena Vista Funeral Home in Brownsville did not immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press.
Mark Schlatter, who taught geography to Zapata in high school, said "he brought positive energy to the classroom."
Fed Who Survived Mexico Attack Out Of HospitalVictor Avila Shot Twice In The Leg
U.S. officials say a federal agent who survived an attack in Mexico that left a colleague dead has been released from a hospital.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says ICE agent Victor Avila was released from a U.S. hospital after receiving treatment for two gunshot wounds to a leg.
Killed in the Tuesday attack was ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata of Laredo, Texas.
Zapata was a Brownsville native and 2005 graduate of the University of Texas at Brownsville who joined ICE in 2006.
Zapata was a former Border Patrol agent in Yuma, Ariz.
On Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder established a joint task force between the two departments, which will be led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and will leverage the investigative capabilities of both departments to work with Mexico in tracking down Zapata's killers.
Law enforcement officials said they suspect gunmen who shot up an SUV with the two agents inside at a roadblock on a central Mexico highway apparently knew they were attacking law enforcement officers.