LOS ANGELES – Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Terrell
Horne, a Boatswain Mate onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut, died early in
the morning of Dec. 2 from injuries sustained during law enforcement
operations near Santa Cruz Island, Calif.
According to the Coast Guard’s description of the incident,
the Halibut was investigating a panga-type vessel - a 30-foot-long open-bowed
fishing vessel - suspected of illicit activities. The cutter deployed its small
boat, which made an approach on the suspect vessel. When the Coast Guard small
boat approached with its blue law-enforcement light energized, the panga maneuvered
at a high rate of speed directly towards the Coast Guard small boat and struck
it before fleeing the scene.
Two Coast Guard members were thrown from the boat into the
water, and both members were immediately recovered by the Coast Guard small
Chief Horne had sustained a traumatic head injury when
struck by a propeller, and the other had minor injuries.
to a UPI report, after ramming the small boat and killing Horne, the panga
boat fled and was tailed by Coast Guard aircraft before it was intercepted
about 20 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Jose Meija-Leyva, who told
investigators he was the panga boat's captain, and Manuel Beltran-Higuera were detained
and charged with killing an officer of the United States while the officer was
engaged in his official duties.
"We are deeply
saddened by the loss of our shipmate," said Coast Guard commandant Adm.
Robert J. Papp.