On June 3, 1998, Border Patrol Agent Alexander Kirpnick was assigned patrol duties at Ephraim and Mariposa Canyons in the Nogales area of the Tucson Sector during the midnight shift. He and his partner responded to sensor traffic. About an hour after setting up, they heard foot traffic approaching and spotted five individuals carrying what appeared to be illegal contraband. When the suspects came closer, the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol Agents and moved forward to contact the suspects.
Agent Kirpnick moved toward two suspects close to him and his partner moved toward three in his area. Agent Kirpnick's partner heard Agent Kirpnick order the two suspects to sit down and soon after heard a gunshot. He then went to Agent Kirpnick's position and found him prone with a wound in the head. Agent Kirpnick passed away at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Agent Kirpnick, an immigrant from Ukraine, was a graduate of the 322nd session of the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, South Carolina.