Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry lost his life Tuesday night trying to stop border bandits. We, along with all Southern Arizonans, offer our condolences to his family and thank him for his service to our country.

Terry was shot while trying to bring to justice bandits who are among the worst of the worst along the U.S.-Mexico border. Armed bandits rip off loads from drug smugglers - in other words criminals stealing from drug cartels. But bandits also steal from and rape people crossing the border illegally - a crime that does not merit such treatment.

Terry, 40, served three years in the Marines, then went to college and worked for two Michigan police departments before joining the Border Patrol in July 2007. His goal was to become a Secret Service agent, his older sister, Michelle Terry-Balogh, told the Star.

He was the first agent in 12 years to be murdered in a shooting in the Tucson Sector. Elsewhere, agent Robert W. Rosas was killed in 2009 by unidentified assailants in a remote area near Campo, Calif. And agent Luis Aguilar was murdered in 2008 by a smuggler in a Hummer who deliberately swerved into him at the Imperial Sand Dunes near Yuma.

Their deaths are a reminder that despite the tremendous buildup in Border Patrol forces and barriers over the past 10 years, the border remains a dangerous place for men and women who work day and night to keep America safe.

Arizona Daily Star