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Immigration agent hailed as hero for halting gunman's attack

February 17, 2012 |  4:17 pm


Authorities hailed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisor as a hero after he shot a fellow employee who had opened fire in a Long Beach federal office, seriously wounding another agent.

Kevin Kozak, 51, a second-in-command of ICE in Los Angeles, suffered six gunshot wounds to his legs, upper torso and hands. Authorities identified the shooter as Ezequiel Garcia, 45, a supervisory agent, who was shot to death by another supervisor in the office after wounding Kozak.

Authorities did not identify the supervisor who shot Garcia.

Kozak, who previously served as acting head of ICE’s Los Angeles operations, remains hospitalized but is in stable condition, and is alert and talking, officials said at a news conference.

Garcia, who oversaw a squad investigating benefit fraud, was being “counseled” about his job performance when the discussion escalated, leading to the shooting, said Steve Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI.

“Kozak is alive today because of the heroic action of another ICE supervisor,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles. “This is the first time anything of this nature has occurred within ICE."


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-- Paloma Esquivel in Long Beach and Victoria Kim in Los Angeles

Photo: Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles, releases the names of the two ICE agents, one who was wounded and one who was killed during a workplace confrontation at the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in Long Beach. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times