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FBI determines ICE agent was justified in killing colleague

He killed a fellow agent who had fired at a supervisor during a job-performance meeting. ICE is also conducting its own review of the shooting incident.

March 16, 2013|By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
  • A police officer enters the federal building in Long Beach after the ICE shootings in February 2012.
A police officer enters the federal building in Long Beach after the ICE… (Associated Press )

A federal agent has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for fatally gunning down a fellow agent who had fired shots at a supervisor, authorities said Friday.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, whose name has not been made public, shot and killed Ezequiel Garcia in February 2012 after Garcia opened fire during a meeting about his job performance. He fired at least six shots at his boss before he was shot dead.

Kevin Kozak, the Los Angeles field office's second in command, was severely injured. The shooting left the seventh-floor office in Long Beach riddled with bullets.

The FBI conducted a yearlong investigation that concluded last month, according to bureau spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. She said the case was reviewed by the FBI because "any assault on a federal officer" would have been investigated.

Eimiller said that the results of the probe were presented to federal prosecutors and that the shooting was found to be justified.

"The surviving agents were not culpable, and no criminal charges are being pursued," she said.

In the days after the shooting, the top ICE agent in Los Angeles publicly praised the high-ranking agent who shot Garcia, crediting his "heroic action" for saving Kozak's life.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said Friday that the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility was conducting its own "critical incident review" and declined further comment. She said the FBI's conclusions would "figure prominently" in the internal probe.

Kice said both the agent and Kozak, a 30-year veteran, are still employed by ICE.

Garcia, 45, had supervised a Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force. He had previously been the subject of complaints by the American Civil Liberties Union that he had used "abusive and coercive" techniques with undocumented workers arrested during a workplace raid.

victoria.kim@latimes.com

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