U.S. Rep. Ron Barber presented a posthumous congressional medal to murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry Monday night as more than 200 people gathered in Tucson to support a foundation in Terry's name.
Logan Willis, Terry's nephew, spontaneously held the medal, the Congressional Badge of Bravery, up high in the climax of an event attended by four members of Congress. The event was the first fundraiser for the Brian Terry Foundation, a foundation set up to help the families of injured or killed Border Patrol agents, provide scholarships and honor Terry's memory.
"This is not only a healing process for the family, but I think it's important for the community and the country," Terry's cousin, Robert Heyer, told the gathering at the JW Marriott Starr Pass.
Today, the Border Patrol station at Naco will be renamed in Terry's honor.
The events come in an important week for the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. That's the controversial investigation, led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under which suspected gun traffickers were able to buy close to 2,000 guns, many of which were taken across the border to Mexico. Two of the guns sold to a defendant in that operation were left at the scene of Terry's killing Dec. 14, 2010, by suspected border bandits in the desert near Rio Rico.
U.S. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said at the fundraiser that he expects the Justice Department Office of Inspector General to publish on Wednesday morning its report on the investigation. While the investigation is likely to focus on misdeeds in the ATF's Phoenix office, which originated the investigation, it may also give insight into who approved of or ignored the operation higher up the chain of command in the Justice Department, Issa said.
Those are among the key questions that remain outstanding for Terry's family, his mother and sister said in an interview with the Star earlier Monday.
"I just hope it's good news," Brian Terry's mother, Josephine, said. "Maybe we can find out who's responsible, who's accountable.
"I would like to have them tell me why this was put in place, who's responsible, and why doesn't somebody who is responsible own up to it. If they did, I think all this other stuff would go away," she said.
In an interview with the Star, Josephine Terry said she follows the news closely every day looking for information about Operation Fast and Furious. "I get up in the morning, and I watch Fox News," she said. "I watch from the time I get up till the time I go to bed."
Fox News reporter William La Jeunesse, who continues to cover Operation Fast and Furious, was the emcee of the event.
Arizona Congressmen David Schweikert and Paul Gosar also attended.
Issa and Barber agreed in their speeches that Terry's death ought not to be a partisan issue, though the debate over Operation Fast and Furious has taken on a partisan tone at times.
"Standing up for the men and women of the Border Patrol should not be a partisan issue," Barber said.
On StarNet: Family members of Brian Terry speak out. See video at azstarnet.com/video
Contact reporter Tim Steller at 807-8427 or firstname.lastname@example.org