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Douglas residents react to agent's murder

Douglas residents react to agent's murder

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nunez
Web Producers: Brian Pryor, Layla Tang

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) The shooting death of a US Border Patrol agent has stirred up some bad memories and uneasy feelings for many Douglas residents.  People in Cochise County have been on alert since someone murdered rancher Rob Krentz last March.  His death triggered calls for action and for feds to call up the National Guard.

The news of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's death hit too close to home for Lynn Kartchner, who lives about 90 miles away from the murder scene in the city of Douglas.

"I'm saddened by the news that any loyal American is killed," said Kartchner, a retired Army Veteran and civil servant.

Just nine months ago the Cochise County Sheriff's Office investigated the murder of Robert Krentz, was believed to have been shot and killed by a drug smuggler.  Kartchner remembers the March day all too well.

"When my friend Rob Krentz was murdered March 27th, to be exact, I was outraged,"  Kartchner recalled.  Today that same outrage and an old wound resurfaced for the Army veteran.

"They (smugglers) have no respect for anybody or for any law, and the last thing you can do is to try to help them. That's what happened to Rob," Kartchner said.

In memory of Krentz, Kartchner and other ranchers conduct their own armed-citizen patrols - using a powerful telescope and infra-red light. 

"It can read a newspaper in total darkness 30 miles away," Kartchner boasted about the imaging power of the scope.

"The Border Patrol goes out with me, this is my contribution" added Kartchner.  He does not blame the agents for the problems, in fact he adds that they have stepped up patrols since the murder of Robert Krentz.  He blames the federal government's policies. 

Until things change, Kartchner believes more agents like Terry and more ranchers like Krentz will be killed again.

The Border Patrol tells KGUN9 News it welcomes tips and information from residents but warns against taking matters into their own hands. Instead, the agency remind everyone to call their local law enforcement.