Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were shot, one fatally, Tuesday morning in an area in south Arizona known as a major drug-smuggling corridor, authorities said.
Border Patrol identified the slain agent as 30-year-old Nicolas Ivie.
The shooting occurred at the Brian Terry Station near Naco, Ariz., which is just south of Tucson. The station was named after an agent who was killed in the line of duty in December 2010. The area is considered a remote part of the state and sources tell Fox News that the shooting occurred at 1:50 a.m. local time and about 8 miles from the border.
"This shooting is a tragic reminder of the dangers the brave men and women who guard our borders face every day."
- Rep. Darrell Issa
The agents who were shot were on patrol with a third agent, who was not harmed, according to George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border patrol agents. The agents were on horseback at the time of the shooting.
McCubbin said he had no further information regarding the shooting.
The shooting occurred after an alarm was triggered on one of the many sensors along the border and the three agents went to investigate, said Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas.
The injured agent was airlifted to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. The injured agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks, the Department of Homeland Security said.
The search for the killer is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. The area is currently flooded with agents on horseback and helicopters conducting a search for the suspects.
Smuggling activity typically increases at this time of night and year since the weather is starting to cool from triple-digit figures.
Rep. Darrell Issa , R-Calif., released a statement calling an investigation into the shooting and cautioned about drawing conclusions before "relevant facts are known."
"This shooting is a tragic reminder of the dangers the brave men and women who guard our borders face every day," Issa's statement read.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the fallen agent a fallen hero.
Two weeks ago, the station was named after Brian Terry, who died in a shootout in December 2010 not far from Tuesday's shooting. Terry was the last agent fatally shot while on duty.
Terry's family issued a statement, saying, "We hope that those responsible for this shooting are brought to justice swiftly. The fact that the agents involved in this shooting were assigned to the recently dedicated Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station in Naco, Ariz., gives us pause to reflect on the life lost and the continued task of keeping our nation safe."
In Terry's shooting, two guns found at the scene were bought by a member of a gun-smuggling ring that was being monitored in the Fast and Furious investigation. Critics have knocked U.S. federal authorities for allowing informants to walk away from Phoenix-area gun shops with weapons, rather than immediately arresting suspects.
Fox News' William La Jeunesse, Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report