RIO RICO, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Agent Brian Terry had a proud history of serving his country. Before joining U.S. Border Patrol, Terry served in the Marines for three years and was honorably discharged in 1994. He later worked on the force at two police departments in Michigan.
"During his time that he was here, he did a good job for us. There was a circumstance in which he received a certificate of merit for his time here," said Lincoln Park, Michigan Police Chief Thomas Karnes.
After joining the U.S. Border Patrol in 2007, Agent Terry worked his way up the ranks. His athleticism and skills earned him a spot on BORTAC, an elite SWAT-type team that responds to the most dangerous situations at the border. It was there where authorities told KGUN9 Terry fought bandits in his last moments.
"They (bandits) encountered him close to the border. They were under fire, an all out gun fight," said Eric Wymer, a friend of the Terry family.
Agent Terry was 40 years old. He is survived by his parents, two sisters, and a brother who said he died doing what he loved. Terry was set to return to Michigan on Thursday for his first Christmas with them in years. Instead, family members will spend this Christmas planning a memorial for their fallen hero. His brother, Kent, said Terry's life was marked by bravery and a passion for civil service.
"He's a true American. True American," Kent Terry said. "Oh, love his job? That's all he talked about for the last three, four years."
According to U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Chief Richard Barlow, it's only fitting that Agent Terry's death has shed a light on a bigger cause.
"This is a stark reminder of the realities we face each and every day protecting this border," Barlow said.
Border Patrol is also planning services for Agent Terry's memorial, but plan to keep those plans private.
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