The events surrounding the night Ivie was killed are detailed in an article titled, “Walk A Mile in His Boots” by Ron Colburn. Colburn is a retired Deputy Chief with the U.S. Border Patrol who served for 31 years. He is currently serves as President of the Border Patrol Foundation.
Ivie’s family said the article sets the record straight about what happened.
“He was late to duty that night,” Rick Ivie, a brother, said. “He decided after his group had already left that he went in on foot.”
Ivie usually patrolled on horseback, but on October 2, 2012, he drove to check out a sensor set off on the Arizona/Mexico border. Two other agents, a male and female, walked in on the opposite side of the ridgeline.
“Nick worked this area everyday,” his brother added. “This was his backyard. He knew all the trails. He knew what trail they were coming up and the other agents, this was their first time on that mountain.”
Then there was a radio miscommunication between Ivie and the two agents.
The agents said they were “a tenth of a mile away” when Ivie asked if they were in the “saddle.” The saddle was a certain part of the ridgeline on the mountain.
Ivie interpreted their response to mean they were about a 40 minutes away from him. The two agents thought he asked where they were in location to the sensor, which meant they were within 10 minutes of Ivie’s location.
Ivie’s family believed he found undocumented immigrants just before the agents showed up. They said he crouched down when he saw two other people show up.
Ivie, thinking his backup was still 40 minutes out, crouched down and let them pass. One agent came at Ivie with a gun drawn. The two didn’t realize they were colleagues. It is unclear who fired first, but Ivie was killed.
“He did exactly what he was trained to do,” Andrea Davis, Ivie’s sister, said.
The family said Ivie’s death was an accident set off by the perfect storm of events. They have no hard feelings toward the agents and consider the Border Patrol their family.
They still have another sibling active in the Border Patrol in Arizona.
“These men and women gear up everyday to protect our border and I for one truly appreciate that,” Mother Cheryl Ivie added.