WASHINGTON -- A Border Patrol agent was killed and another was injured in a shooting early Tuesday morning in an Arizona town on the border with Mexico, according to federal authorities.
The victim was identified as Nicholas Ivie, 30, from Provo, Utah, who had been an agent since 2008. The authorities said the injured agent, whom they did not identify, was in stable condition.
The shooting occurred near a Border Patrol station in Naco, Ariz., that had recently been named in honor of Brian Terry, an agent whose 2010 murder received national attention because of its ties to Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-tracking case. Two guns found at the scene of Mr. Terry's murder were among hundreds that officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives failed to seize as they hoped to build their case.
Although the authorities said nothing about the weapons used in the shooting on Tuesday, Republican members of Congress who have been critical of the Justice Department issued statements that tried to tie the shooting to Operation Fast and Furious.
"There's no way to know at this point how the agent was killed, but because of Operation Fast and Furious, we'll wonder for years if the guns used in any killing along the border were part of an ill-advised gun-walking strategy sanctioned by the federal government," Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said in a statement. "It's a sad commentary."
A senior law enforcement official declined to say whether the authorities had uncovered connections between the shooting and Operation Fast and Furious. "We need to stay on message here," said the official, James L. Turgal, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I. office in Phoenix who spoke at a news conference at the Border Patrol station in Naco.
Operation Fast and Furious was an investigation from late 2009 to early 2011 into an Arizona-based gun-trafficking ring linked to a Mexican drug gang. During its course, A.T.F. agents used the tactic of gun-walking, in which they did not seize illegal weapons in hopes of identifying more criminals.
According to Border Patrol officials, the shooting occurred around 1:50 a.m. as the two agents and another agent who was not injured responded to an apparent attempt by someone to cross into the United States.
Officials said that they believed the perpetrators were criminals and that because the shooting had taken place in a rugged area it could take more than a day to collect evidence from the scene.
Matthew Casey contributed reporting from Naco, Ariz.
Correction: October 2, 2012, Tuesday
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article, based on information from Customs and Border Protection, misstated the first name of an agent who was killed. He was Nicholas Ivie, not Nicolas.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.