Brownsville Resident and ICE Agent Killed in Mexico by Unknown Gunmen

Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 9:27am

The entire perimeter has been blocked off for everybody. The only ones allowed through are family members, authorities and those who live on this street. Otherwise, no one is able to get by.

The traffic flow through this street has not slowed down since friends, family members and authorities learned the devastating news. Several vehicles, mostly federal officials, have stopped by the home. Some to pay respect to Jaime Zapata’s immediate family, others to make sure no one, who isn't allowed, goes through.

"We’re just here to assist in any way we can and wherever we can assist, we will do so."

Brownsville Police Chief, Carlos Garcia, has visited with Zapata’s family twice today. He’s made his officers stand outside the home to make sure no one uninvited drives through. The family is going through a tough time accepting the loss and doesn't anyone to invade their privacy.

"It’s a somber mood. It’s very hard. It was very hard for me to go in there and offer our services. I didn't know Mr. Zapata but as another law enforcement official, this is a fellow brother and we feel, we grieve, you know, just like the family grieves."

The ICE agent was on assignment in Mexico City. He died Tuesday when gunmen attacked Zapata’s blue Suburban as he and his partner, Victor Avila, drove through the northern state of San Luis Potosí.
According to ice officials, Avila was shot twice in the leg and has been transported back to the United States, where he remains in stable condition.

In a statement from ICE officials, the men were driving on Highway 57, near the town of Santa Maria Del Rio, a four lane federal highway between Mexico City and Monterrey, when they were stopped at what may have appeared to be a military checkpoint but Mexican military officials say they had no checkpoints in the area. Once they were stopped gunmen opened fire on them. As you can see from the video shot at the scene, the SUV was riddled with bullets.

"It hits home because you know, it's an individual from here, from Brownsville, from the valley. It’s one of our fellow officers that was on assignment, doing his job in the line of duty."

The police department and the city of Brownsville have offered the Brownsville event center as a possible site for funeral services. Details on the funeral arrangements are not known at this time. We’ll bring you more information as they become available.

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