by Anna Giaritelli, Homeland Security Reporter | | September 22, 2020 01:03 PM

A Border Patrol agent fatally shot a suspected illegal immigrant encountered on the Arizona-Mexico border Monday night after the federal agent was stabbed several times, according to a senior federal official in the region.

"Earlier tonight a Tucson Sector #BorderPatrol Agent was attacked and stabbed multiple times while on patrol near Nogales," Roy Villareal, the chief of Border Patrol's Tucson, Arizona, sector, tweeted early Tuesday.

"On September 21, 2020, at approximately 7:00 p.m., a Border Patrol agent patrolling on foot east of Nogales, Arizona, attempted to arrest a group of suspected illegal aliens. The Agent was stabbed multiple times with a knife by a suspect in the group. The Border Patrol agent fatally shot his assailant," the statement read. "The Agent was life flighted to an area hospital. The FBI, CBP Office of Professional Responsibility, DHS Office of Inspector General, and Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office were all notified, with the FBI serving as lead federal agency for the investigation of this incident. Additional information to follow."

Roy D. Villareal
Earlier tonight a Tucson Sector #BorderPatrol Agent was attacked and stabbed multiple times while on patrol near Nogales. Details here.

10:27 PM · Sep 21, 2020

Nogales is a remote city of approximately 20,000 residents and is located 65 miles south of Tucson. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees Border Patrol, did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Border Patrol comprises approximately 20,000 agents who work along the northern and southern borders, as well as Puerto Rico and some eastern and western coastal areas. Deadly altercations between federal law enforcement agents and human smugglers or illegal immigrants are rare. CBP's internal auditor, as well as the Department of Homeland Security's equivalent office, will examine the incident. The FBI will oversee the main investigation because the incident involves a federal employee.

Last October, a Tucson agent on foot patrol in the mountains was found deceased. The regional chief said that the agent died as the result of an underlying heart condition.