1 ICE agent killed, 1 injured in workplace dispute

Friday, February 17, 2012

A workplace dispute turned deadly Thursday at a Southern California government building.

A federal agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pulled a gun on a superior and started shooting.

The chaos unfolded just before 6:00pm that evening at a federal building south of Los Angeles.

A dispute between two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents turned violent.

"Based on the interviews and the evidence, we believe there was an escalation in this discussion that likely led Mr. Garcia to fire several rounds from his service weapon hitting Mr. Kozak," explained Steven Martinez, FBI Assistant Director. "After Mr. Garcia began firing, another agent working nearby, intervened and fired his weapon to prevent addition rounds being fired by Mr. Garcia."

Authorities say it started as a workplace dispute. A deputy special agent in charge, Kevin Kozak was counseling Ezekiel Garcia, a supervisor of lower rank, regarding his negative performance.

The situation became confrontational, and Garcia pulled his weapon.

As Kozak was rushed to the hospital, police immediately secured the scene, closing off surrounding streets, and barricading the 7th floor of the building, the scene of the shooting.

"Mr. Kozak is currently hospitalized, and I am happy and relieved to say that he is in stable condition," Martinez reported.

While the incident stunned the law enforcement community, they were relieved at the outcome.

"Agent Kozak is alive today because of the heroic actions of a third ICE supervisor. While that agent's quick thinking saved Agent Kozak's life, it also meant one of his colleagues died," said Special Agent Claude Arnold.

Authorities are not releasing the name of the third agent who intervened; they say they want to respect his privacy.

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