The 2014 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. while he was fishing with relatives has been reclassified as a death in the line of duty.
Vega’s family had requested the change in order to receive survivor benefits and so the government could acknowledge his sacrifice even while off-duty.
The agent and his family were fishing in Willacy County near Santa Monica on Aug. 3, 2014, when officials say two Mexican nationals shot Vega, who was off-duty, and his father after trying to rob them.
His mother Marie Vega is grateful for the ruling.
“We’re very happy. He’s finally getting the respect and recognition he so rightfully deserves. We’re go grateful to everyone who helped us.”
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske to reclassify the death as the result of a shooting in the line of duty.
“I would like to thank Senator John Cornyn for joining with me to deliver justice to the family of Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega and I commend CBP and the Department of Homeland Security for classifying his death as being in the line of duty. Today’s announcement honors Agent Vega’s work, commitment and service to his country. I hope that today’s decision brings some measure of comfort to his family, his friends and his fellow agents,” Vela said.
Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval and Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo await trial on charges of capital murder and attempted capital murder.
For more on this story read Thursday’s Valley Morning Star.