FARMINGTON — The U.S. Border Patrol Agent who was gunned down Tuesday near Bisbee, Ariz., was married to a former Aztec resident.

 The young couple was building a family with 1- and 3-year-old daughters at their home in Sierra Vista, Ariz. Cristy Ivie, whose maiden name was Cristy Morris, was married to Nicholas Ivie.

He died Tuesday after being shot by suspected Mexican drug smugglers near the U.S.-Mexico border. Cristy's grandmother and several distant relatives still live in Bloomfield, said Kathryn Morris, Cristy's grandmother.

Kathryn said Cristy and Nicholas had been married for about five years. Cristy is 31 years old and was enrolled in the Aztec School District when she lived here. She moved with her parents to Utah before she graduated high school, Katherine said.

The couple met while they were both living in Utah. Kathryn said Cristy and Nicholas visited the Farmington area in March to see relatives.

“He was such a gentle giant,” Katherine said of the agent. “He was a great husband and father.”

 About three dozen of Ivie's family members attended a press conference at Cochise College in Sierra Vista on Thursday afternoon. The relatives told stories of Nicholas' compassion for people on both sides of the border.

“He really did love the people he worked with,” Nicholas' brother, Chris Ivie, said at the press conference.

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“He was a hero.” Cristy was not available for an interview on Thursday.

Kathryn said Cristy hadn't expressed worry to family members about being married to a Border Patrol Agent.

 Nicholas Ivie joined the Border Patrol in 2008. Before that he was an emergency medical technician, said his brother-in-law, Todd Davis.

 He was also active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Davis said.

Nicholas Ivie was based out of a Border Patrol station in Naco, Ariz. An agent who worked at the station was shot to death by smugglers while on duty in Dec. 2010.

The gun fight that claimed Nicholas Ivie's life started at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday. He and two other Border Patrol agents were investigating a border sensor that was trippd. One of the other agents involved in the shooting suffered non-fatal injuries.

Two suspects in the shooting were arrested Thursday in northern Mexico, just east of where the shooting occurred. No further details about the arrests were available Thursday evening.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.