Investigators are preparing to announce that the death of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie in Arizona earlier this week was the result of friendly fire -- accidental gunfire from another agent who responded to the same scene, state and federal officials told NBC News on Friday.
Mexican troops have arrested two suspects in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and the wounding of a second officer in Arizona, Mexican security officials said on Wednesday. he two suspects were detained in a Mexican military operation in the city of Agua Prieta, in Mexico's northern Sonora state, a few miles from the spot where Nicholas Ivie was shot dead early on Tuesday while responding to a tripped ground sensor, a Mexican Army officer, who declined to be named.
Ivie was among three agents who were patrolling on foot about five miles north of the international border when gunfire erupted. A second agent was also wounded while the third, a woman, was unharmed.
The agents had been patrolling in an area near the border town of Naco, well-known as a corridor for smuggling, and the Cochise County Sheriff's department has said that tracks were found heading south after the shooting.
Ivie was a 30-year-old father of two, he had been an agent for four years.
A Mexican police official in Naco, across the border from the Arizona town of the same name, confirmed the arrests, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday.
U.S. officials refused to comment on the report of the arrests..
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The alleged perpetrators of the attack were arrested in an operation that began in the area of Naco, Sonora (Arizona border) and ended hours later in the neighboring town of Agua Prieta, just over 40 miles east of where the assault occurred .
The Mexican operation involved federal and municipal police. Without providing details, the source said the men were transferred to an agency of the attorney general in Agua Prieta.
It was the first fatal shooting of an on-duty Border Patrol agent since December 2010, when Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with bandits near the border. Terry's shooting was later linked to the government's "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling operation, which allowed people suspected of illegally buying guns for others to walk away from gun shops with weapons, rather than be arrested.
Update: An Investigation Has Begun to Rule Out "Friendly Fire"
Investigators report that that have reached no conclusions and still have lots of work to do. But they said they cannot rule out that it was a friendly fire incident.