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Shootout between federal agents kills 1, wounds 1

The shooting in the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in Long Beach reportedly involved a dispute between an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and his supervisor. The agent shot his boss and then was killed by another agent.

February 17, 2012|By Andrew Blankstein, Robert J. Lopez and Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
  • A police officer positions himself in front of the federal building in Long Beach after reports of shots fired. One man was killed and another wounded in a shootout involving federal agents.
A police officer positions himself in front of the federal building in Long… (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

A confrontation between federal law enforcement agents erupted in gunfire Thursday evening in Long Beach, leaving one dead and another seriously injured, authorities said.

The incident was sparked by an unspecified dispute between Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building near the city's oceanfront, according to law enforcement authorities.

The agency said in a statement Thursday night that one of its agents died at the scene and the other was in stable condition after the shooting. But the statement did not provide details about the incident.

Multiple law enforcement authorities told The Times the shooting involved a dispute between an agent and his supervisor.

The agent opened fire repeatedly on the male supervisor shortly before 6 p.m. in the building, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

With the supervisor wounded, a third agent intervened and opened fire on the gunman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to law enforcement authorities. The male agent who killed the gunman was uninjured.

The supervisor was taken by a Long Beach Fire Department ambulance to nearby St. Mary Medical Center, where he was being treated late Thursday.

The scene outside the multistory building at Ocean Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue was marked by confusion as police and federal agents descended on the site. Initial reports from the command post, which were sent to law enforcement agencies, stated that two agents had been killed.

But the agency, known as ICE, issued a brief statement about 8 p.m. saying that one agent had died. The agency did not release the names of the agents involved because family members had not been notified.

The shooting sparked a major response by the Long Beach Police Department, the FBI and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.

As investigators gathered evidence Thursday night and interviewed witnesses, Luis Martinez watched from a parking lot booth across from the federal building where he works as a cashier.

Drawn by the sound of screeching tires, Martinez said, he walked to the building and saw at least four SUVs stopping outside the main entrance. Then Martinez said he saw several police officers storm in.

"Some people were running out and there were two ambulances in the middle" of the street, said Martinez, 25.

Formed in 2003, ICE is the main investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and has agents across the United States and in dozens of foreign countries. The agents are involved in immigration enforcement, customs inspections, and efforts that target gang members and traffickers who move people and illegal goods into the United States.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

robert.lopez@latimes.com

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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