EL PASO – The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 dollars for information as it investigates a “potential assault” that caused the death of a Border Patrol agent and serious injuries to his partner.
“We call it potential because we do not have the full picture of what transpired,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the El Paso Division during a press conference.
Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez, 36. died Sunday from traumatic head injuries and broken bones while on patrol in a remote area just off Interstate 10 near Van Horn. His partner is in critical but stable condition at an El Paso hospital recovering from a traumatic head injury as well as other wounds. Authorities are not releasing his name. The agents were checking to see what triggered a ground sensor.
“The job of the border patrol is dangerous,” said Victor Velasquez, acting Border Patrol Chief for the Big Bend Sector at the press conference.
“Our men and women deal with the constant presence of the unknown ranging from those seeking illegal entry into the U.S., smugglers of human cargo and drugs, transnational criminal organizations and the dangerous terrain,” Velasquez said.
Velasquez said the Big Bend Sector is in mourning after losing one of their own. Martinez joined the Border Patrol in 2013 and is survived by a fiancee, a son, three stepchildren, his parents and other relatives in El Paso.
The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing agents, initially said Martinez was attacked with rocks and President Donald Trump said the surviving agent was “badly beaten.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Buie declined to comment on those allegations. “Our purpose in our investigation is to do everything in our power to identify the facts as they’re presented,” he said.
Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carillo was among the first responders at the site where the agents were found badly injured in a culvert late Saturday night.
He said it’s important to wait for evidence before speculating about the cause, but also asked the question, “Was it accidental while walking in the dark, a fall?”
Bloodhounds were still scouring the area Tuesday as part of the FBI investigation. “We’ve been out aggressively pursuing every lead that we have as well as processing the scene, which I consider a crime scene,” Buie said.