EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Border Patrol agent injured in an incident that left a fellow agent dead was discharged Wednesday from an El Paso hospital.
The agent was discharged Wednesday from the University Medical Center in El Paso, said Doug Mosier, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso.
He declined to identify the agent and referred to the FBI all questions about the status of the investigation into Saturday night’s incident near Van Horn that left agent Rogelio Martinez dead.
A message left with an FBI spokeswoman Wednesday wasn’t returned.
Speculation about the incident has run rampant with several politicians calling it an attack and promoting the building of wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The two Border Patrol agents suffered traumatic head injuries and other wounds such as broken bones, according to the FBI, which is leading the investigation. The results of Martinez’s autopsy are pending.
Although there hasn’t been an explanation of what happened, Texas politicians — including Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz — have described the incident as an “attack.” President Donald Trump said the injured agent had been “brutally beaten” as he called for the wall between US and Mexico.
But in Culberson County, where the two officers were injured, the local sheriff painted a different picture, suggesting to the Dallas Morning News that investigators are considering the possibility that the agents fell in a nighttime accident.
“The evidence is not obvious as to what happened out there,” Sheriff Oscar Carrillo told the paper.
Martinez and his partner had been on patrol near Interstate 10 in the Big Bend Sector, which runs along the US-Mexico border, when they responded to activity, US Customs and Border Protection said. CBP officials would not say what type of activity.
After they responded, Martinez’s partner reported that they were both injured and needed help, according to CBP. They were found about 12 miles east of the town of Van Horn at 11:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the FBI.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman said Martinez had not been shot.
Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. in the FBI’s El Paso office had said Tuesday that investigators were treating the incident as a “potential assault,” but they could not rule out other scenarios.
Representatives from the border patrol’s union were also insistent from the accounts of other agents who responded to the scene that the incident was an attack. Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, told The Associated Press that agents responding to the scene called it “grisly.”
However, a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Monday that the agents may have fallen, and that the surviving agent had no memory of his duty-shift. The official spoke on condition of anonymity and is not authorized to speak publicly.
Border Patrol officials hoped to have answers for Martinez’s family as they planned his visitation and funeral, set for Friday and Saturday in El Paso.
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the deadly incident.
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