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U.S. Coast Guard Member Killed

coastguardaltA member of the U.S. Coast Guard was killed in the line of duty when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Two Mexican nationals charged with killing a U.S. Coast Guard officer were scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Federal prosecutors have charged Jose Mejia-Leyva and Manuel Beltra-Higuera in the death of 34-year-old Coast Guard Officer Terrell Horne III.

Horne, of Redondo Beach, was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 2 when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

He was second in command of the Halibut, an 87-foot patrol cutter based in Marina del Rey.

The Halibut was dispatched to investigate a “panga”-style vessel that had fallen under suspicion becasue it was operating at night without lights.

When Horne and his team approached in a smaller inflatable boat, the suspect boat gunned its engine, rammed the Coast Guard inflatable and fled.

The impact knocked Horne and another Coast Guardsman into the water.

Both were rescued, but Horne suffered a massive head injury caused by a propeller and was pronounced dead at the Port Hueneme Pier.

Military aircraft followed the alleged smugglers’ 30-foot craft as it made its way toward Mexico.

Another Coast Guard vessel overtook them as they tried to restart their sputtering engine, and the two suspects were detained.

Local News
12/10/12

U.S. Coast Guardsman Remembered

U.S. Coast Guard officials held a memorial Saturday for a veteran chief petty officer killed after suspected smugglers rammed his vessel with a drug-smuggling panga boat off the coast of Santa Barbara.

SAN PEDRO coast-guard-pic(KTLA) — U.S. Coast Guard officials held a memorial Saturday for a veteran chief petty officer killed after suspected smugglers rammed his vessel with a drug-smuggling panga boat.

More than 1,000 people from the law enforcement community, U.S. Coast Guard, and the government, including U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, attended the memorial for Terrell Horne III.

Horne, who lived in Redondo Beach, had served in the Coast Guard for nearly 14 years and was second in command of the Halibut patrol cutter.

The ceremony also included multiple aircraft flyovers, a 21-gun salute by the Coast Guard Honor Guard, music by the Coast Guard Band, and an award presentation.

Horne, 34, was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 2 when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

Last week, two Mexican nationals were charged in Horne’s death.

Boat captain Jose Mejia-Leyva and Manuel Beltra-Higuera appeared in court last Monday to face charges of killing a federal officer. Both were ordered held without bail.

The crash happened after the Halibut was dispatched to investigate a boat operating near Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of the Channel Islands.

The boat, a “panga”-style vessel commonly used by smugglers, was first detected by a patrol plane. It had fallen under suspicion because it was operating at night without any lights.

The Coast Guard cutter contains a smaller boat — a rigid-hull inflatable used routinely for search-and-rescue operations and missions that require a nimble approach.

When Horne and his team approached in the inflatable, the suspect boat gunned its engine, maneuvered directly toward the Coast Guard inflatable, rammed it and fled.

The impact knocked Horne and another Coast Guardsman into the water.

Both were rescued, but Horne suffered a massive head injury caused by a propeller, according to the affidavit. Paramedics met the Halibut at the pier at Port Hueneme, where Horne was pronounced dead.

Horne arrived in Southern California last summer after serving for two years as an executive petty officer in Emerald Isle, N.C.

There, he received a Coast Guard Commendation Medal for his leadership in 63 search-and-rescue cases, in which 38 lives were saved.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard was killed in the line of duty when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

coast-guard-guyLOS ANGELES — Two Mexican nationals have been charged in the killing of U.S. Coast Guard member after they allegedly rammed his vessel with a drug-smuggling panga boat.

The two men, boat captain Jose Mejia-Leyva and Manuel Beltra-Higuera, appeared in court Monday afternoon to face charges of killing a federal officer.

Both suspects were ordered held without bail.

Terrell Horne III, 34, of Redondo Beach, was killed in the line of duty Sunday when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

He was second in command of the Halibut, an 87-foot patrol cutter based in Marina del Rey.

Early Sunday morning, the Halibut was dispatched to investigate a boat operating near Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of the Channel Islands.

The boat, a “panga”-style vessel commonly used by smugglers, was first detected by a patrol plane.

It had fallen under suspicion because it was operating at night without any lights.

The Coast Guard cutter contains a smaller boat — a rigid-hull inflatable used routinely for search-and-rescue operations and missions that require a nimble approach.

When Horne and his team approached in the inflatable, the suspect boat gunned its engine, maneuvered directly toward the Coast Guard inflatable, rammed it and fled.

The impact knocked Horne and another Coast Guardsman into the water.

Both were rescued, but Horne suffered a massive head injury caused by a propeller, according to the affidavit.

Paramedics met the Halibut at the pier at Port Hueneme and declared him dead at 2:21 a.m.

“Chief Petty Officer Horne was an outstanding Coast Guard member,” said Coast Guard Capt. James Jenkins.

“He gave his life in service, enforcing the laws of this nation. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Chief Petty Officer Horne,” Jenkins continued.

“All of the members of team Coast Guard grieve along with them, and are so very sorry for their loss,” he said.

Horne’s shipmate suffered minor injuries and was treated and then released on Sunday.

According to the affidavit, military aircraft followed the alleged smugglers’ 30-foot craft as it made its way toward Mexico.

With the two men futilely trying to restart their sputtering engine 20 miles north of the border, another Coast Guard vessel overtook them.

Crew members demanded their surrender at gunpoint. When the men kept trying to start their engine, the Coast Guard crew doused them with pepper spray.

The two suspects were detained. Authorities believe they had been supplying gasoline to other smuggling craft operating off the California coast.

Horne arrived in Southern California last summer after serving for two years as an executive petty officer in Emerald Isle, N.C.

There, he received a Coast Guard Commendation Medal for his leadership in 63 search-and-rescue cases, in which 38 lives were saved.

On Monday, Horne’s shipmates shared some memories of their colleague and friend.

“He is the best shipmate I’ve ever known. He was a friend. He was a big brother to us all and he’s absolutely irreplaceable,” said Lt. Steward Sibert, commanding officer of the cutter Halibut.

“He understood and he lived the Coast Guard motto or honor, respect and finally giving the ultimate sacrifice of devotion to duty,” said Executive Petty Officer Kellian Whidden.

Horne leaves behind a wife and a young son. According to neighbors in Redondo Beach, Horne’s wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard was killed in the line of duty when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

coastguardaltPORT HUENEME (KTLA) — A member of the U.S. Coast Guard was killed in the line of duty when suspected drug smugglers rammed his vessel near Santa Cruz Island.

Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, 34, of Redondo Beach was second in command of the Halibut, an 87-foot patrol cutter based in Marina del Rey.

Early Sunday morning, the Halibut was dispatched to investigate a boat operating near Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of the Channel Islands.

The boat, a “panga”-style vessel commonly used by smugglers, was first detected by a patrol plane.

It had fallen under suspicion becasue it was operating at night without any lights.

The Coast Guard cutter contains a smaller boat — a rigid-hull inflatable used routinely for search-and-rescue operations and missions that require a nimble approach.

When Horne and his team approached in the inflatable, the suspect boat gunned its engine, maneuvered directly toward the Coast Guard inflatable, rammed it and fled.

The impact knocked Horne and another Coast Guardsman into the water.

Both were rescued, but Horne suffered a massive head injury. Paramedics met the Halibut at the Port Hueneme pier at declared him dead at 2:21 a.m.

“Chief Petty Officer Horne was an outstanding Coast Guard member,” said Coast Guard Capt. James Jenkins.

“He gave his life in service, enforcing the laws of this nation. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Chief Petty Officer Horne,” Jenkins continued.

“All of the members of team Coast Guard grieve along with them, and are so very sorry for their loss,” he said.

Horne’s shipmate suffered minor injuries and was treated and then released on Sunday. He was not identified.

Using a helicopter and a 45-foot boat stationed in Los Angeles, the Coast Guard later found the panga and stopped it.

Two men were detained. The Coast Guard declined to identify them or say whether drugs were found aboard the boat.

Horne arrived in Southern California last summer after serving for two years as an executive petty officer in Emerald Isle, N.C., the Los Angeles Times reports.

There, he received a Coast Guard Commendation Medal for his leadership in 63 search-and-rescue cases, in which 38 lives were saved.

Horne leaves behind a wife and a young child. According to neighbors in Redondo Beach, Horne’s wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano released the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of U.S. Coast Guard Boatswains Mate Chief Terrell Horne during a counter-drug operation yesterday morning near Santa Cruz Island, California.”

“BMC Horne and his fellow crew members of the USCG Cutter Halibut were engaged in an at-sea interdiction when they came under threat by a small vessel that rammed their small boat.

“This tragedy reminds us of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day, and the great risks they willingly take, as they protect our nation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of BMC Horne and all of our Coast Guard personnel at this difficult time.”