SAN DIEGO — A veteran U.S. Coast Guard officer was killed Sunday when his boat was rammed by suspected smugglers near Santa Cruz Island, authorities said Sunday.
Executive Petty Officer Terrell Horne was aboard a small Coast Guard craft and was investigating a boat that was operating without any lights, raising suspicion. The other boat was a “panga,” an open-hulled boat that is “the choice of smugglers operating off the coast of California,” said Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.
The boat rammed the Coast Guard vessel when it approached, knocking two Coast Guard members into the water. When Horne was pulled out of the water it was determined that he had suffered a traumatic head injury and died. The other Coast Guard member had minor injuries.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate,” said Adm. Robert J. Papp, the Coast Guard commandant.