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ICE agent opened fire during job performance talk

Updated 6:43 p.m. ET: A fatal shooting in a Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Southern California occurred as an agent was being counseled on his performance by a high-ranking ICE official, the FBI said Friday.

Authorities identified the gunman as supervisory special agent Ezequiel Garcia, 45, and the victim as Kevin Kozak, 51, deputy special agent in charge of the Los Angeles area.

The shooting happened just before 6 p.m. Thursday on the seventh floor of the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in Long Beach, about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.


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Garcia was killed by another agent who intervened after Kozak had been shot six times. Kozak was in stable condition Friday at a nearby hospital and was described as alert and talking.

"He is a fighter, and I believe that's why he's alive today," said Claude Arnold, ICE special agent in charge. "He refused to succumb to his injuries and in law enforcement that's what makes the difference between people who go home at the end of the day and those who don't." 

Authorities did not provide details regarding the discussion that preceded the shooting, but would only say it was related to Garcia's job performance.

However, a federal official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that Kozak, the second in command of the
Los Angeles area, had denied a request for an internal transfer request by Garcia.

Garcia initially worked for the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service and was promoted to supervisor within ICE in 2004.

He was a plaintiff in lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department after he and another ICE agent claimed they were roughed up by five officers while doing undercover work. A federal jury found in the police officers' favor in 2005, saying they didn't use excessive force.

The Long Beach federal building houses ICE, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Probation and Parole Office.

Along with the FBI, the shooting was being investigated by ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility and Long Beach police.

The Associated Press and NBCLosAngeles.com contributed to this story.

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