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Family Of Agent Killed By 'Fast And Furious' Rifle Demands Accountability

A year after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by a weapon lost in a failed gunwalking operation, his family is calling on the U.S. government to hold those responsible accountable.

Terry, who worked for the Border Patrol's elite tactical unit, was killed Dec. 15 and two AK-47s were found near the murder scene. The guns were traced back to a Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives operation that sold the weapons to drug gangs. The "Fast And Furious" operation, as it's come to be known, is under Congressional scrutiny and has already cost two top Justice Department officials their jobs.

"Brian's death has been extremely difficult to accept," Terry's family said in a statement released today. "We find it incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian's murder. Much to our dismay, no one in ATF or DOJ has come forward to accept responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious."

The statement continues:

"Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian's murder. However, we will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. Those responsible for such a misguided and fundamentally flawed operation must be held fully responsible for their decisions which allowed so many weapons to flow to the criminal element on both sides of the border. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable."

In an interview with The Arizona Republic, the family's attorney Pat McGroder said the family is "not interested in using Brian's life as a political football."

"They just want to know the truth," McGroder said. "That's what Brian Terry stood for. His honor was his badge of courage."

Yesterday, the House of Representatives honored Terry by passing a bill that would name the a Border Patrol Station in Bisbee, Ariz. after him.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.