November 10, 2013
The family of Nick Ivie, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent from Utah, who was shot and killed on Oct. 2, 2012, has always wondered what really happened the night their brother was killed in a dangerous area known to be frequented by the drug cartel. Reports released shortly after the incident were confusing and many stated that Ivie had shot first and was killed in the return fire.
Now, thanks to an article based on information from the FBI, the Border Patrol’s critical incident team and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and released by Ron Colburn, a Border Patrol Agent who retired with 31 years of service and as the agency’s deputy chief and current President of the Border Patrol Foundation, more information is shared in an attempt to explain what happened to Ivie and to correct wrong or inadequate information.
“Basically, what happened that night was that so many things lined up to make the perfect storm,” said Andrea Davis, Ivie’s sister. “Nick was late to work because of a family emergency, which meant he wasn’t on horseback and had to be in a vehicle by himself. When the alarm was triggered, he responded immediately to a very dangerous place that is a busy and main drug trafficking area.”
In Colburn’s article, “Walk a Mile in His Boots,” Colburn tells about events that took place that fateful night, based on information from discussions with local law enforcement and the FBI.
“His death has been reported as a ‘friendly fire’ incident, first of its kind in the nearly 90 year history of the Border Patrol,” Colburn said in his article. “Since Nick’s death, finger pointing and misinformation in the press and news media has been the rule, rather than the exception. A lengthy investigation by the government, requiring that the witnesses and government entities involved remain silent only adds to the speculation by those who would write and report on it, yet know little to nothing about the tragic, complex circumstances that led to a first time ever event, such as this.”
Ivie died from a gunshot wound to the head, and the second agent was hit in the buttocks and grazed in the ankle. But the physical evidence from that evening doesn’t indicate who fired first.
“Even if Nick did shoot first, we know that he was threatened,” said Davis. “The agents are trained with muscle memory. They all would have responded and shot because they are trained to shoot first. If he did shoot first, he did according to his training.”
And Colburn’s article shares similar information.
“The physical evidence does not indicate who fired first,” said Colburn, in his article. “Agent #2 stated that she did not know who fired first, and Agent #1 stated that Nick fired first, and that he returned fire.”
Because the Border Patrol has reopened the case and the investigation is ongoing, Ivie’s family is grateful to have new information released that they hope helps clarify the situation.
“Previous information that was released by the media wasn’t correct or didn’t give all of the information,” said Davis. “The information released by Ron Colburn is an attempt to correct wrong, inadequate and lack of information regarding Nick’s death.”
Joel Ivie, also a Border Patrol agent and Nick Ivie’s brother, put together a presentation for other agents who were still confused after many months about how the incident occurred.
“Joel was able to listen to the radio communications from both sides,” said Davis. “When he listened to that, he said it was like watching a movie in his mind. He and Nick knew that area so well and with the communication on the radio, in Nick’s mind he thought the other agents would be 40 to 45 minutes out.”
The recordings show there was a possible miscommunication between the agents, with Nick thinking the agents were 45 minutes away, instead of actually just five minutes away. Other information includes an account from one agent who saw three or four silhouettes of people and heard someone speaking in fast, fluent Spanish.
“There were also pesos on the ground, water bottles with no condensation and wrappers with no weathering on them found on the ground near Nick,” said Davis. “Nick would’ve had whoever he captured empty their pockets and he would have had them down on the ground.”
Even with all the new information being released, Davis said that the report still didn’t include 100 percent of the information because of the open investigation.
“We love the Border Patrol,” said Davis. “They are family to us and have kept in contact with us and have honored Nick. We are grateful that this article was released to help correct wrong information.”