Director of the Department of Homeland Security Jeb Johnson and Michael J. Fisher, Chief of the Customs and Border Patrol sadly report the death of Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr.
Agent Vega was off duty and on a fishing trip with his father, wife, and three children. He was abruptly confronted by two subjects in an apparent robbery attempt. Agent Vega recognized this scenario as a typical robbery that had been occurring along the Texas/Mexico border for several months.
These robberies have plagued the area and agents have been taking measures to curb the robberies. Many innocent victims have had money, jewelry, and vehicles stolen only to find some of the vehicles being recovered in Mexico.
During this confrontation, the suspects noticed that Agent Vega had a firearm. Recognizing that his life was in imminent danger, Agent Vega identified himself as a Border Patrol Agent and drew his weapon.
One of the suspects shot Vega in the chest. Agent Vega was able to return fire upon the suspects as they fled the shooting and disabled their vehicle. Agent Vega’s father was struck by gunfire during the confrontation.
Agent Vega’s family transported both of them to a local hospital where Agent Vega died of his wound. Javier Vega Sr. underwent surgery and is recovering from his gunshot wound.
Agent Vega’s family members gave Willacy County Sheriff deputies a description of the suspect’s, their vehicle and location of the crime. Deputies located the suspect’s abandoned vehicle on FM2629 close to the floodway. The suspects were located walking on foot close to the county line near Sebastian, a short distance from the disabled vehicle.
The suspects; Gustavio Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, were arrested without incident.
They were arraigned Tuesday afternoon on charges of capital murder of a peace officer, attempted murder, four counts of aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence. At their arraignment, both suspects were provided with court appointed attorneys and language interpreters. The Mexican Consulate was notified of their arrest and the charges.
Customs and Border Patrol Agents along with Texas DPS Troopers are assisting the Willacy County Sheriff Department in the investigation.
According to prior arrest records, Tijerina was arrested and deported four times between 2007 and 2010 for entering the United States illegally. Hernandez had been arrested and deported twice prior to Agent Vega’s killing.
Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. had served the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol for 6 years. He was also a Marine Corps veteran. Agent Vega is survived by his parents, wife, and three children.
Customs and Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr.-gone, but never forgotten. EOW: Sunday, August 3, 2014.
“Graphic created by Fellow Officer Rose Borisow GraFX”
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