The identity of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who was fatally injured over the weekend in southern Texas has been revealed.
Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were responding to unspecified “activity” while on patrol in Culberson County, which lies in the Big Bend Sector of the Texas border, when they were injured by either one or multiple suspects.
Martinez’s partner radioed that the pair needed assistance. Other agents responded to the scene and took them to the hospital, where Martinez later died from his injuries on Sunday morning. His partner is said to still be in serious condition.
Both the identity of Martinez’s partner and the nature of the pair’s injuries have remained unspecified by the agency.
“Border Patrol agents from Big Bend Sector and the Culberson County Sheriff’s Department secured the scene. The Border Patrol’s Special Operations Group and agents from CBP’s Air and Marine Operations are searching the area for potential suspects or witnesses,” said a press release from the agency. “The Culberson County Sheriff’s Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of Inspector General, and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating.”
Martinez, who was originally from El Paso, had worked as a border agent since 2013.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) released a statement using Martinez’s name to share his condolences.
He called the events leading up to Martinez’s death an “attack” and a “stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecured border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them,” also releasing the statement on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, President Trump similarly used Martinez’s death to speak about policy. The president doubled down on his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!” he tweeted Sunday evening.
While Trump’s tweet may not speak to critics of his border policy, it does speak to those Border Patrol agents who have noted a change in demeanor under new leadership.
Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, the first woman to hold the position, said in an interview that Trump’s presence in the White House has helped make other agents feel “empowered” to perform their duties.
“Well, I think specific to the Border Patrol, I think the agents are feeling empowered to actually enforce the laws that are on the books. We don’t make the laws. We follow the laws that are on the books, and the men and women out there really just want to enforce those laws that they have been trained to enforce, that they’ve been — and I think they feel empowered to do their jobs now,” she explained.