Slain Border Patrol agent identified


Fellow officers mourn over body of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was struck Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008, by a General Motors Hummer in the Imperial Sand Dunes, Calif. According to witnesses the agent was hit while attempting to lay down spike strips as the vehicle was fleeing law enforcement officers.

Ryan Brennecke/The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 10:00 p.m.

PHOENIX - A Border Patrol agent killed by a suspected smuggler's vehicle he was trying to stop near the border was identified Sunday as a 32-year-old father of two.

Senior Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar was struck on Interstate 8 in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area about 20 miles west of Yuma on Saturday, said Agent Michael Bernacke, a spokesman for the agency's Yuma sector.

Bernacke said Aguilar was trying to place spike strips in the path of two vehicles believed to have illegally entered the country from Mexico when one of the vehicles hit him.

Both vehicles drove back across the border into Mexico.

The area is popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts but also is frequently used by smugglers carrying people or drugs.

Bernacke said Aguilar lived in Yuma with his wife and children.

Family members declined to comment, said a man who answered the phone at their home and identified himself as Border Patrol Agent Ruiz. "He (Aguilar) was a terrific guy and everyone here took a big loss," Ruiz said.

The FBI is leading the investigation, and Bernacke said Mexican authorities were lending their full support.

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