Questions still remain over the death of Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez last week in southwest Texas. However, a memorial service will be held on Saturday and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other law enforcement officials will be in attendance.
According to CNN, federal officials are still investigating the mysterious incident that left Martinez, 36, dead and his partner injured while on duty. For the memorial service, Sessions and other officials will join Martinez’s family in El Paso, Texas.
The Star on the Mountain, a man-made illuminated star on the side of the Franklin Mountains, is an iconic landmark in El Paso. CNN affiliate KFOX has reported that the landmark will be lit over the weekend in honor of Martinez. The lighting of the star was described in a certificate reported by KFOX.
“Roger, our beloved friend, son, father and dedicated agent. We will miss you dearly. Tonight we light up the star in your honor. We love you, our hero.”
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security flew the American flag at half-staff. The DHS tweeted out the flag to show they were honoring Martinez.
As far as Martinez’s partner goes, they have not been identified. He was released from the hospital this week and is walking on his own. Lee Smith, the region’s chapter president of the Border Patrol union, said that the agent doesn’t recall what happened the night of the attack. His partner just remembers arriving at work that night and nothing else, according to Smith.
The Mysterious Incident
While the incident is still being investigated, CNN reported that both men were on patrol near Interstate 10 in the Big Bend Sector along the US-Mexico border. Martinez and his partner responded to what border officials described as “activity.”
After responding to the call, Martinez’s partner reported that they were both injured and needed help, according to CBP. Martinez and his partner were found in a culvert area, a tunnel structure used for water drainage. According to the FBI, they were 12 miles east of the town of Van Horn at 11:20 p.m. last Saturday. The FBI reported that both men had suffered traumatic head injuries and other wounds, such as broken bones.
On Sunday morning, Martinez died from his injuries at a hospital. His partner was in serious condition when he arrived at the hospital, but he was released within a few days. The autopsy results for Martinez are still pending.
Rush Carter, the special operations supervisor for the Big Bend Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, said that part of the agents’ regular duties include checking culverts off the interstate. This is a popular spot for illegal immigrants to hide.
According to Chris Cabrera, the National Border Patrol Council spokesman, the incident is being described as an “ambush” and he suggested that drug traffickers often frequented the area.
“It was a brutal attack. This was something well thought out and planned. They executed their plan.”
A reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible has been authorized by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]