President Donald Trump has reacted to the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, asserting that the loss of life was evidence that his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was necessary. The circumstances surrounding the agent's death remain unclear.
On Nov. 19, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Rogelio Martinez was killed while investigating a triggered alarm in Van Horn, Texas. His partner, whose name has not been disclosed, was transported to a local hospital and remains in critical condition, NBC News reports.
Trump took to social media to respond to the incident and tout his proposal to construct a wall along the southern border.
"Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt," Trump tweeted. "We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!"
The 36-year-old Martinez was an El Paso resident and had served with the CBP since August 2013.
"He would be the type of guy to give the shirt off his back and wouldn't ask for nothing in response," Emory Crawford, a longtime friend of the deceased, told KVIA.
The FBI ha taken over the investigation into the agent's death. National Border Patrol Council labor union spokesperson Chris Cabrera disclosed that Martinez appeared to have been beaten with a rock.
"We've had agents, a good friend of mine actually almost lost his eye," Cabrera said. "It happens quite a bit, unfortunately ... It was a cowardly act."
No suspect has been apprehended in Martinez's death. CBP records found that the region where he was attacked has only accounted for 1 percent of the border apprehensions of undocumented immigrants made between October 2016 and May 2017.
GOP Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has issued a $20,000 reward for any information that proves useful in apprehending Martinez's attacker, KENS reports.
Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas released a statement offering his sympathies to the Martinez family.
"Our condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, who was killed this morning in the line of duty," Cruz said. "We are also praying for the full recovery of his partner, who was also attacked."
Trump's proposed border wall was a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign. Surveys have indicated that the majority of voters are against funding the project.
On July 31, a Rasmussen Reports poll found that 37 percent of registered voters believed that the wall would be effective, while 56 percent said it would be wasteful, The Hill reports.
On Sept. 21, a Monmouth University survey found that 35 percent of national adults supported the construction of a border wall, while 60 percent were opposed.