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FBI deems fatal shooting of ICE agent in Long Beach justified

March 15, 2013 | 10:52 am

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined that an immigration agent was justified in fatally shooting a colleague who had shot their boss last year at a federal building in Long Beach.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller on Friday declined to elaborate on the FBI's investigation into the Feb. 16, 2012, shooting at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, but confirmed to The Times "no surviving agents involved in the shooting were found to be criminally culpable," meaning criminal charges would not be pursued.

The double shooting was sparked by an exchange between a longtime federal immigration agent, Ezequiel Garcia, and the second-in-command for ICE in Los Angeles, Kevin Kozak, who had met over Garcia's job performance.

The exchange grew heated, and authorities said Garcia fired at least six shots at Kozak, wounding him.

Another unidentified agent intervened, fatally shooting Garcia. Kozak, a 30-year veteran agent who previously served as acting head of ICE's Los Angeles operations, survived.

ICE declined to comment on the FBI's investigation, but said an internal incident review is ongoing.

Formed in 2003, ICE is the main investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and has agents across the United States and in dozens of foreign countries. The agents are involved in immigration enforcement, customs inspections, and efforts that target gang members and traffickers who move people and illegal goods into the United States.

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— Victoria Kim, Cindy Chang and Kate Mather

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