On December 15, 2010, the Brian Terry’s family was preparing for Christmas with great anticipation — Brian would be coming home for the festivities. Brian had left Michigan to pursue his career as a Border Patrol Agent. The family was so proud of him, they called him “Superman.”
However, on that day, the family received notification that Brian had been killed in the line of duty in a gunfight near the border.
Instead of celebrating Christmas, the family would gather to mourn the loss of a son, brother, and uncle.
Brian and three other members of his BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit) were on a night mission watching for “Rip Crews” — Mexican bandits who rip off drug mules — and just 15 minutes before Brian’s Christmas Vacation was to begin, the agents spotted five armed men.
They shouted “Policia!”
The criminals opened fire.
During a sharp engagement Brian was killed and one “Rip Team” member was wounded.
Two WASR 7.62 AK-47 knock-offs were dropped at the scene.
Fast and Furious
Initially known only to the (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) ATF, the weapons carried by the “Rip Crew” had been purchased by “Straw Buyers” who were allowed to walk the guns across the border under the watchful eye of ATF Agents as a part of the “Fast and Furious” program.
Supervisors in the Phoenix Office — as well as high ranking members of the Justice Department — covered up the fact that these weapons would never have been in the hands of this “Rip Crew” if it weren’t for Fast and Furious.
One courageous ATF Special Agent — John Dodson — had tried for more than a year to warn the ATF of the flaws and the dangers of Fast and Furious.
He predicted the death of a Border Patrol Agent or a Cochise County Sheriff’s Deputy with one of these weapons if the program was not altered or abated.
When Brian Terry fell in the line of duty, Dodson’s worst fears were realized.
Dodson refused to stay silent. He testified before a Congressional Committee to the ‘who, what, when, and where’ of “Fast and Furious” — to this day Special Agent Dodson can’t explain the ‘why?’
A Unique Cross to Bear
The Terry family has found itself with a unique cross to bear. Many members of this Michigan family have served in law enforcement and the military (some still do). Yet they realize that many of the answers they seek about the death of Brian are deliberately being kept from them by the same government they have so faithfully served and trusted.
Michelle Terry-Balogh — Brian Terry’s sister — told PoliceOne that the family greatly appreciated the fact that a state-of-the-art Border Patrol Station was named after Brian.
“He was worthy of such an honor in life and in death,” Terry-Balogh said.
She explained that it is difficult, however, to know that people in the government have deliberately kept facts from their family. This has kept them from “getting closure, if there is such a thing.”
The only consolation for their grief is knowing that Brian died living his dream.
When Brian was a boy, the family car was stopped for a minor traffic violation. As the Michigan State Trooper approached, he was met with the smiling face of five-year-old Brian Terry, who proclaimed, “I’m going to be just like you when I grow up.”
A Message to President Obama
When asked what she’d say to the president if she could talk to him, Michelle replied, “All we want is the honest answers. It may hurt, but at least it’s the truth.” She added, “[Mr. President], if it was your child, wouldn’t you want to know the answers and the truth for closure and justice?”
It is a sad reality that some people rise to a level so high they have the authority to be wrong with impunity. Your commanding officer, a judge, the Attorney General of the United States, and the President of the United States all may possess such authority.
The Fast and Furious investigation, the attempted cover-up of that investigation, the inaccurate testimony to Congress, and the claim of executive privilege serve as great examples of people in positions of power exercising their authority to be wrong.
Special Agent John Dodson, the congressional committee, and the Terry Family have fought — and continue to fight — a righteous battle to find out who authorized Fast and Furious and for what purpose.
It remains to be seen if right will prevail.