By ED ASHER
HARLINGEN — Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. is being remembered as a fallen hero.
It appears likely the Border Patrol checkpoint at Sarita will be renamed after Vega, a La Feria native killed three years ago while protecting his family during a robbery.
A bill to rename the checkpoint where Vega served passed the U.S. Senate earlier this week.
The House version, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, was referred to a committee last week and presumably will be assigned to the floor for a vote.
“Agent Vega devoted his life to serving his nation, making the ultimate sacrifice while protecting his family and community,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
“Senate passage of this bill brings us one critical step closer to honoring his extraordinary service and sacrifice by renaming the checkpoint in Sarita.”
The other sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz, said Vega first served in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the Border Patrol as a canine handler, assigned to the Sarita checkpoint with his dog “Goldie.”
“Agent Javier Vega loved his family, loved Texas and loved his country,” Cruz said. “He should be remembered as a hero, having dedicated his life to defending our great nation.”
On Aug. 3, 2014, two men shot Vega and his father while trying to rob them, investigators said. They had been fishing with family members in the Santa Monica area off FM 1420 about 3.5 miles east of the north levee, Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence said at the time.
Javier Vega Sr. was shot in the lower back and released from a hospital about two days later.
Initially, Vega’s death was not classified as “in the line of duty.” But that changed after Cornyn and Vela asked the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reclassify the death as the result of a shooting in the line of duty.
The lawmakers said Vega was responding to “a clear violation of law at the time of his death.”
Investigators arrested two Mexican nationals in the case.
Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval and Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo await trial on charges of capital murder and attempted capital murder.
Both are set to go to trial beginning Sept. 12 in state district court in Brownsville.