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'Heroic' ICE agent praised for swift actions

The ICE agent hailed for his "heroic actions" in shooting dead a colleague who had opened fire on his supervisor has been identified as Perry Woo.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

The ICE agent hailed for his "heroic actions" in shooting dead a colleague who opened fire on his supervisor as they talked about his job performance has been identified as Perry Woo.

CBS Los Angeles said Woo had been named by authorities and spoke to a neighbor who told the station that she was "very proud" of him.

Earlier Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE/Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles, said that the injured supervisor, Kevin Kozak, 51, who was shot six times, was still alive because of Woo.

"Agent Kozak is alive today because of the heroic actions of a third ICE supervisor," Arnold said, according to CBS. "While that agent's quick thinking saved Agent Kozak’s life, it also meant one of his colleagues died."

Susan Varjuknupson, told the station that she was "very proud he's my neighbor."

"If we ever have any trouble, I'm going to knock on his door and make sure that he's the one that has the gun," she added.

'Refused to succumb'
NBC Los Angeles reported Friday that the gunman, named as special agent Ezequiel Garcia, 45, started shooting while being counseled on his performance by Kozak, the deputy special agent in charge of the Los Angeles area, on Thursday just before 6 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET).

Kozak was shot six times with bullets hitting his upper torso, legs and hands, but was described Friday as alert and talking in hospital.

"He is a fighter, and I believe that's why he's alive today," Arnold said. "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."

Arnold said he wasn't aware of any issues between Garcia and Kozak. "We are doing everything humanly possible to understand why it happened and to ensure it will not happen again," he said.

A federal official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that Kozak had denied a request for an internal transfer request by Garcia. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

ICE routinely reallocates resources in line with priorities, but does not disclose information about transfers due to security reasons, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Calm, decisive
Before Woo was named, The Associated Press reported that he had been placed on administrative leave.

ICE Director John Morton said he met with the agent and described him as doing "remarkably well under the circumstances."

"This agent acted with extraordinary calm and took quick and decisive steps to deal with a very dangerous situation," Morton said.

"Both of these men came to work yesterday never imagining if they would literally be fighting for their lives, but that is exactly what in fact happened, and they were tested in a very dangerous way and showed incredible fortitude," said Morton.

CBS Los Angeles reported that Woo was a celebrated agent who was known for his work in helping to find lost children.