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No sign of trouble between slain ICE agent and son, friend says

May 3, 2012 | 10:58 am


A man who described himself as a best friend and former colleague of an ICE agent shot to death allegedly by his 14-year-old son said there "was never any indication" of trouble between the two.

Shawn Butler, 41, described himself as a best friend of the agent, whom he met in the Navy in 1991 and served with in ICE. Butler, who is no longer an agent, said his friend has two older daughters in addition to the teenage son who was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Authorities have not released the agent's name, pending notification of next of kin.

Butler said the boy had moved in with his father less than a year ago and that the daughters live elsewhere. The teenager was not big on sports, he said, but enjoyed playing video games.

"They had a great relationship as a father and son," Butler said. "He was very proud of his son. He loved him very much. ... All the time I had been around them I had never seen any kind of issues of tension between them."

Authorities have not said what prompted the shooting, only that it was a "domestic issue." The agent, who was sitting in a downstairs TV room, was killed by a single shot fired into his house on the 19300 block of Broadacres Avenue in Carson shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, investigators said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Holly Francisco said the son fired one shot from the backyard with his father's ICE-issued handgun.

Butler said the shooting was tragic for both father and son.

"He's 14 years old and he's got to deal with this for the rest of his life," he said.

Earlier in the morning, as a coroner's van arrived about 7:30 a.m., a dozen or so agents wearing blue ICE windbreakers gathered outside of the home. One sat on a ledge with his head in his hands, while others talked quietly among themselves.

All stood in a line, shoulder to shoulder, as the body was wheeled out on a gurney. Moments later, the agents returned to their cars, turned on their emergency lights and, in a sort of impromptu procession, escorted the van carrying the body to the coroner's office.

Stephanie Love, a neighbor who lives three doors down from the agent's home, said he moved into the neighborhood about a year ago but that she did not know him. Many others have lived on the street for 20 years or more, she said.

"I grew up in this neighborhood," said Love, 32. "We don't have things like this happen. This is a shock to everybody because this is the type of neighborhood everyone wants to move into."

Ronni Johnson, 45, said her two children attend Broadacres Elementary School, half a block from where the shooting occurred. Classes were in session Thursday, she said.

Pastor David Buggs of Central Baptist Church in Carson led a prayer with ICE agents outside of the house. Afterward, he described them as "just very sad."

"They were not even talking to each other," he said.


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-- Matt Stevens in Carson and Kim Christensen in Los Angeles