A tale of two shooting incidents and the feds’ investigation into the murder of Border Patrol Agent Terry….what’s taking so long?

Posted on January 21, 2011

Over the last two weeks, the local (Arizona) and national media have been virtually inundated with stories related to the January 8 shootings in Tucson.  Daily, if not hourly, updates are put out on Representative Giffords progress. Stories about the other victims and the “alleged” shooter have saturated every form of media possible in the 24/7 news cycle.  Given the nature of the horrific tragedy, it’s understandable, but it’s still overwhelming.

Besides the vast amount of media attention, large amounts of coverage are being given to the incident in another form as well.  It’s been reported that as many as 380 law enforcement personnel (250 feds plus 130 locals) are spending their time on this investigation where the shooter is already in custody and the events of the shooting are pretty cut and dry with reports of video footage taken during the incident showing all the gory details.  So why are we using so many resources for a case that’s so “open and shut?” The “alleged” shooter has been indicted already, within two weeks of the shootings. 

Now contrast the intensity of the investigation into the Tucson shootings above with the shooting and murder of Border Patrol Agent Terry on December 14th in the exact same state.   The FBI is also leading this investigation and there are six suspects (all illegal immigrants, one with an apparent criminal history) which have been in connection with the agent’s shooting since a couple of days following that incident.  It has been over a month since Agent Terry was murdered, yet no charges (besides immigration violations) have been filed against those being held.  In fact, the feds won’t even release the names of those being held.  Why?  Is it a lack of motivation by the government or a lack of resources?  If it’s a resource issue, you would think that at least a few of those hundreds of federal agents investigating the Tucson shootings might be able to lend a hand since they are practically on the doorstep already. 

The lack of information and legal action is trying the patience of Agent Terry’s family:

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – The mother of a slain Border Patrol Agent says the family is growing frustrated with the investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is the lead agency investigating the death, has released little information on the suspects or what happened in the desert.

As reported in a USA Today article, Agent Terry’s mother, Josephine Terry, says they are growing tired waiting for details on why or how her son lost his life.

“We don’t really know anything yet,” said Josephine Terry from her home in Flat Rock, Mich.

Agent Terry was a member of the U.S. Border Patrol’s elite tactical squad known as BORTAC. 

At the time of the shootout, he and members of his unit were tracking suspected bandits near Peck Canyon, northwest of Rio Rico.

Bandits, usually Mexican Nationals, roam the border areas, robbing and sexually assaulting illegal immigrants as they cross into the U.S.

No one has been formally charged or publicly identified.

Josephine Terry said she trusts that federal agents are gathering evidence carefully to ensure an accurate account.

But she said the wait has been frustrating for family members.

This because of rumors spread across the Internet that some BORTAC agents carried shotguns loaded with bean bags.

“We don’t even know if he had real bullets,” she said. “It’s difficult. I don’t want my son to have died for nothing.”

Indeed.  Agent Terry hopefully didn’t die for nothing.  Unfortunately, until the feds get moving on this case, we won’t know for sure.  The dead agent and his surviving family deserve a more appropriate response from the federal government than seemingly being put on hold, or being given a lower priority than the shootings in Tucson which took place 3 weeks after Terry was killed.  Exactly how long does it take to decide to press murder charges when you already have had the suspects in custody for over a month?   As time marches on, it begins to look like a cover up.

With little to no action by the feds, all that the family can do now is hold a memorial service, wait, and hope that something happens sooner rather than later, or perhaps not at all.