On May 10, 1989, Border Patrol Agent Xavier Magdaleno and his partner were driving their Service vehicle alongside the railroad tracks in an area of the El Paso Sector known as the “Slag Pit”, performing Freight-train Transportation Check duties. Preparing to check an outbound Southern Pacific freight train, the agents were driving east between the slag piles and outbound tracks. The assigned vehicle Agent Magdaleno was driving became mired in the “slag” near the railroad tracks. Once clear of the slag piles, Agent Magdaleno tried to execute a 180-degree turn.
The wheels of the vehicle began to slide in the soft slag and continued to plow forward. Moments later an inbound train impacted with his Service vehicle. Due to the slag piles and the curve of the track the agents did not see the train coming until it was about 75 yards from the vehicle. Although Magdaleno put the vehicle into reverse to avoid the train, the train struck the vehicle on the passenger side and threw the rear of the vehicle toward the track, striking it again. On the initial impact, Magdaleno's partner was thrown out of the vehicle away from the train. The second impact threw Magdaleno out of the vehicle and it came to rest on top of him.
As a result of the accident Agent Magdaleno was left paralyzed from the neck down and died from his injuries on May 10, 1995 six years after the accident. Agent Magdaleno will always be remembered for his amicable personality, his kindness and compassion toward his co-workers as well as the people he apprehended, for his devotion to duty and love for his family.
Supervisory Patrol Agent Lawrence Pierce was killed when he was stabbed in Chula Vista, California while trying to break up a fight in which another person had just been stabbed.
Agent Pierce was a patron in a bar at 421 Telegraph Canyon Road when a man entered and fatally stabbed another patron in the chest. Despite being off duty, Agent Pierce chased the subject to a nearby gas station where he was also stabbed while attempting to talk the man into dropping the knife.
The man was arrested and charged with both murders. SBPA Pierce was 48 years old at the time of his death. He entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on June 23, 1980 as a member of Border Patrol Academy Class 137. Agent Pierce was survived by his wife and three sons.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., January 19, Senior Border Patrol Agent Jefferson Barr and his partner, Border Patrol Agent Ned Thomas responded to electronic sensor activity at a location on the Rio Grande River 2 1/2 miles downriver from the Eagle Pass Port-of-Entry. The two agents took up positions on a trail leading away from the sensor activations to await possible alien foot traffic.
When Agents Barr and Thomas challenged four individuals carrying bundles of suspected narcotics, the subjects dropped their loads and three of them attempted to flee toward the river. Agent Thomas grappled with one of the three as the fourth subject, simultaneously, responded with gunfire at Agent Barr. The suspect expended all eight rounds from a .22 caliber revolver, striking Agent Barr once in the left shoulder area. The path of the projectile that struck Agent Barr was such that the wound was fatal instantly.
Agent Barr fired all six rounds from his .357 magnum Service revolver during the gunfight, striking the suspect once. The round struck the suspect’s left wrist, shattering his wristwatch, and entered his abdominal cavity. The suspect was able to walk to the river and cross back into Mexico. He was found shortly thereafter, suffering from his wounds and was taken for medical treatment. He was subsequently taken into custody by Mexican authorities.
At approximately 8:40 a.m. on January 25, Border Patrol Agent Aurelio E. Valencia was involved in a vehicle accident on California State Route 78, near Glamis, California. Permanently assigned to the Blythe Station, Agent Valencia was working backup for the Highway 78 checkpoint. As he attempted a U-turn to get behind and investigate a suspected smuggling vehicle parked south of the checkpoint, his Service vehicle was struck broadside by a southbound motorist.
Agent Valencia died at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident. Agent Valencia began his career with INS as a student aide at Tucson Sector Headquarters. He was promoted to Clerk two months later.
After a short break in service, he entered on duty as an Immigration Detention Officer at Wilcox Station, Tucson Sector, on November 26, 1986. On June 13, 1988, he entered on duty as a Border Patrol Agent at Blythe Station, Yuma Sector, the position he was filling at the time of his death.
On December 12, 1996, about 4 p.m., Agents Michael Barnes, Antonio Guzman, Adolf Tapia, Rolando Gonzalez, David Salinas, Matthew Mizell, and Kevin Brashear, assisted by the Del Rio Sector pilot, Mike Snyder, were working a trail on the Chittum Ranch in the Carrizo Springs, Texas, area. They spotted a group of about 13 illegal aliens, who ran when the agents approached them. Agents Barnes and Tapia apprehended five of the aliens.
Agent Barnes then turned them over to Agent Tapia and began trying to apprehend the remainder of the group. The pilot spotted the remainder running along a creek bottom and was guiding agents toward the area. Agent Barnes was within about 50 yards of them when the pilot stated over the radio that Agent Barnes had gone down. He radioed Agent Barnes, but there was no response. When he notified the other agents in the area of the situation, they started making their way to assist Agent Barnes. About 4:32 p.m., Agent Tapia found Agent Barnes face down. Agents determined that Agent Barnes was not breathing and had no pulse and immediately started performing CPR.
Pilot Snyder radioed for an ambulance and a helicopter. Agent Barnes was placed in an INS Bronco and transported to the ambulance. About 5:38 p.m., a helicopter took off with Agents Barnes and Guzman for a hospital in San Antonio, arriving at 6:13 p.m. At 6:25 p.m., a doctor advised Agent Guzman that Agent Barnes had died. The medical examiner’s office determined he had suffered a massive heart attack. Agent Barnes was born in San Antonio and grew up in Pearsall, Texas. He served as Supervisor at the Carrizo Springs Border Patrol Station beginning in May 1988 and as Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge at Carrizo Springs beginning in July 1990. In September 1996, he was appointed Patrol Agent in Charge at Carrizo Springs.
At approximately 11:24 a.m., Senior Patrol Agent Miguel Maldonado of the Port Isabel Station was performing sensor response patrol duties alone in a Service vehicle, traveling on Alton Gloor Road in Brownsville, Texas. An eyewitness stated that Agent Maldonado’s vehicle turned left across the center line of the road, sliding across the roadway and into the ditch adjacent to the road. It then struck an earthen berm with its passenger side tires and rolled over one complete turn, landing on its wheels.
At the time of the accident, Agent Maldonado was driving in an emergency response mode with his vehicle’s emergency lights and siren activated.Supervisory Patrol Agent Herbert J. Monette of the Brownsville Station was notified of the accident and arrived at the scene soon afterward as EMS personnel were trying to save Agent Maldonado. They then decided to transport Agent Maldonado to Brownsville Medical Center, where emergency room personnel also tried to save him.
But about 12:15 p.m., Agent Monette was informed that Agent Maldonado had died from wounds sustained in the accident. The likely cause of the accident was the wet condition of the roadway.Agent Maldonado began his Border Patrol career with the Laredo Sector. He was reassigned in August 1988 as Senior Border Patrol Agent at the Port Isabel Station under the McAllen Sector, the position he held at the time of his death.
On June 14, 1997, Border Patrol Agent Stephen C. Starch and Senior Patrol Agent Aric Curtis were patrolling the border area south of State Route 94 in the Dulzura, California, area. During the mid-afternoon hours, they found tracks of suspected illegal immigrants in the rugged mountains of San Diego’s East County. Fully aware of terrain obstacles and even though their shift was almost over, Agents Starch and Curtis forged ahead, scaling the side of a mountain. Agent Starch separated from Agent Curtis to cover more territory.
During the next hour, Agent Curtis tried numerous times to contact Agent Starch by radio but was unsuccessful. He contacted Supervisory Border Patrol Agents Wayne Rock and Brian Brown, who also tried to contact Agent Starch, but to no avail. A ground and air search for Agent Starch was begun. Around 6:30 p.m., Agent Curtis discovered Agent Starch at the base of a cliff. He had sustained severe injuries and was not breathing. A medical helicopter from Mercy Air arrived at the scene, along with a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter.
Agent Curtis began administering CPR and was assisted by others. Because of the remoteness and the rough terrain, a higher medical authority could not arrive before dark. After nearly an hour of CPR, the attending Emergency Medical Technician consulted with the Flight Doctor from Mercy Air by radio and pronounced Agent Starch dead at the scene due to the severity of his injuries. The next day, investigators determined that Agent Starch had accidentally fallen about 150 feet to this death. Agent Starch was a graduate of Texas Tech University and the Border Patrol Academy, Class 295. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the San Diego Sector, El Cajon Station, Sign-Cut Unit.
On June 3, 1998, Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic. About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband.
When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol Agents and moved forward to contact the suspects. Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area.
Agent Kirpnick’s partner heard Agent Kirpnick order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick’s position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson. Agent Kirpnick, an immigrant from Ukraine, was a graduate of the 322nd session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.
On July 7, 1998, Border Patrol Agent Susan Lynn Rodriguez and several other agents responded to a call for assistance from the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department south of San Benito, Texas. The Sheriff’s deputies were pursuing a double homicide suspect. Agent Rodriguez was helping to set up a perimeter in an attempt to contain the fleeing suspect in a wooded area where he was believed to be hiding.
As Agents Rodriguez and Ricardo Salinas walked back to their vehicle, the suspect emerged from a cornfield and began firing on them and the other law enforcement officers on the scene. During the ensuing gun battle, Agents Rodriguez and Salinas were killed. Agent Rodriguez was the first female agent in the history of the United States Border Patrol to lose her life in the line of duty. At the time of her death, she was assigned to the Harlingen Station of the McAllen Sector. She was a graduate of the 261st session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Glynco, Georgia.
On July 7, 1998, Border Patrol Agent Ricardo G. Salinas and several other agents responded to a call for assistance from the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department south of San Benito, Texas. The Sheriff’s deputies were pursuing a double homicide suspect. Agent Salinas was helping to set up a perimeter in an attempt to confine the suspect to a wooded area where he was believed to be hiding.
As Agents Salinas and Agent Susan Rodriguez walked back to their vehicle, the suspect emerged from a cornfield and began firing on them and other law enforcement officers at the scene. During the ensuing gun battle, Agents Salinas and Rodriguez were killed. At the time of his death, Agent Salinas was assigned to the Harlingen Station of the McAllen Sector. He was a graduate of the 351st session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.
On Tuesday October 20, 1998, at 7 p.m., Agents Jesus De La Ossa and Thomas J. Williams were traveling to San Diego after successfully completing the Border Patrol Academy Instructor’s Course. They were involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle and lost their lives in the accident. The accident happened about 15 miles west of Artesia, New Mexico.
Agent De La Ossa was born in Nogales, Arizona. Before entering the Border Patrol, Agent De La Ossa served as a military policeman in the U.S. Air Force. He joined the INS as a Border Patrol Agent and was later promoted to Senior Patrol Agent. At the time of his death, his official station was Brown Field, California. He was a graduate of the 264th session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Glynco, Georgia.
On Tuesday October 20, 1998, at 7 p.m., Agents Thomas J. Williams and Jesus De La Ossa were traveling to San Diego after successfully completing the Border Patrol Academy Instructor’s Course. They were involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle and lost their lives in the accident. The accident happened about 15 miles west of Artesia, New Mexico. Agent Williams was born in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.
He graduated from Western Illinois University Magna Cum Laude with a degree in criminal justice. He served in the Navy for 4 years, 2 of which were served on the submarine Henry Clay. He joined the INS as a Border Patrol Agent and was later promoted to Senior Patrol Agent. At the time of his death, his official station was Brown Field, California. He was a graduate of the 266th session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Glynco, Georgia.
On Friday October 23, 1998, at 2 p.m., Agent Scott Panchison was flying a U.S. Border Patrol plane in response to motion sensors tripped along the United States-Canadian Border near Lynden, Washington. Agent Panchison was working with other agents in the area and was heading back to Bellingham International Airport when his plane crashed on rugged terrain in the Smith Peak area just north of Mount Baker Highway on the west side of Sumas Mountain.
Agent Panchison lost his life in the crash. Agent Panchison was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. After graduation, Agent Panchison joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he spent 10 years flying F4 Phantoms, including flights from aircraft carriers in the Vietnam War. He left the Corps to join the U.S. Border Patrol, where he proudly served for 21 years. At the time of his death, he was stationed at the Blaine Sector. He was a graduate of the 119th session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Glynco, Georgia.
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