Texas Checkpoint Renamed to Honor Fallen Border Patrol Agent

March 21, 2019 Updated: April 2, 2019

SARITA, Texas—Hundreds of Border Patrol agents, sheriffs, and law enforcement officials joined the family of slain Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr. on March 20 to dedicate a checkpoint in Vega’s honor.

Vega’s K-9 partner, Goldie, was also present.

Goldie, who was Javier Vega Jr.’s K-9 partner, was at the ceremony for the newly renamed Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

“That day, he did what his heart told him to do—the very same thing he was trained to do. The very same thing he loved to do,” said Vega’s mother, Marie, in an emotional speech. “The very same thing he took that oath for—the oath to defend and protect.”

Marie Vega, mother of slain Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr., speaks at the renaming of the Sarita Border Patrol checkpoint to the Javier Vega, Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Vega was shot and killed on Aug. 3, 2014, while out fishing with his wife, children, and parents near Santa Monica, Texas.

As two illegal aliens approached the family and attempted to rob them, Vega attempted to draw his weapon, but was shot in the chest. His father was also shot and wounded.

Both assailants fled the scene and were arrested a short time later.

In 2016, Vega’s murder was re-determined to have been in the line of duty.

Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Chief Rodolfo Karisch at the naming of the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol Chief Rodolfo Karisch thanked Border Patrol officials and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“Their efforts in reclassifying agent’s Vega’s murder as a line-of-duty death, and in moving legislation forward to rename the checkpoint in [his] honor, are greatly appreciated,” Karisch said. “The dedication of this checkpoint today will preserve his legacy for generations of agents who will continue to serve this great nation.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) at the newly renamed Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Cornyn sent a letter to the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner in 2015 to request Vega’s death be reclassified as line-of-duty, allowing his family to receive the benefits of such a classification. A year later, he sent another letter, along with Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and John Carter (R-Texas), and was that time successful.

Border Patrol agents at the newly renamed Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

In 2017, a bill introduced by Cornyn and co-sponsored by Cruz to rename the Sarita checkpoint in Vega’s honor passed the Senate.

“Everyone in law enforcement knows you never truly go off-duty. Once you’ve taken the oath, it doesn’t end at your front doorstep. Harvey truly represented the best of Texas,” Cornyn said, using Vega’s nickname.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the newly renamed Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Cruz said Vega spent his life defending others, first as a Marine and then as a Border Patrol agent.

“He tragically gave his life doing what he had spent his entire life doing, which is defending others, defending his family, from two criminal illegal aliens who had been deported previously,” Cruz said. “We’re today with a moment of sadness, but also with deep, deep gratitude.”

Vega’s widow, Paola Andrea Brown, said Vega’s fellow Border Patrol agents have been by the family’s side since day one.

“We’re grateful for each and every one of you,” she said. “My boys lost their father, I lost my best friend. Everyone tells me that I’ve done such a great job in raising these boys, but little do they know, these boys have raised me.”

Paola Andrea Brown, wife of slain Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr., at the newly renamed Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

“I know your father is so proud of all three of you.”

The Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol checkpoint is situated on U.S. 77 in southeast Texas, between Brownsville and San Antonio.

The newly renamed Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Border Patrol agents and a K-9 inspect vehicles at the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 20, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
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