Border Patrol officer's family embraces other agents

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. -- While the FBI has not revealed which of the two agents working with Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie fired the shot that killed him, a family spokesman indicated the Ivies have the information, and have forgiven and embraced that agent.

Federal investigators said Ivie and two other agents were responding to a sensor alarm used to detect smugglers crossing the border near Bisbee last Tuesday.

In the dark, investigators believe Ivie thought his fellow agents were smugglers. They said Ivie fired first, striking one of the agents, who returned fire. Ivie died in the accidental gunfight.

In what family spokesman Kevin Goates describes as "one of the most moving experiences" of his life, the agent wounded by Ivie and possibly killed Ivie has been embraced by the Ivie family.

"He was hurting, but he was welcomed as he walked into the house with unbelievable love," Goates recalled of the first meeting between the still-unnamed agent and the Ivie family. "There were words of kindness, love and respect."

"And to see Christy go up, hug him, and whisper words of comfort, it's just an incredible example of her setting aside her pain and grief," Goates told reporters after the funeral on Monday.

The spokesman went on to say the agent is being treated like a brother or long-lost son by the Ivie family. He sat next to them at the funeral, in the front row.

"He's been invited to spend time with the family," Goates said. "They wanted to know his birthday and he's been invited to vacation with the family."

Goates told reporters the Ivie family is not focused on the facts surrounding the shooting.

"There's almost been no discussion to the details," he said. "We realize many are interested in those things, but not for the family."

He added that the Ivie family is more concerned about comforting the other agents.