VENTURA, Calif. -- It's a sad time for the U.S. Coast Guard.
One of their own was killed early Sunday and another was injured when their small boat was rammed by a smuggler's vessel before dawn off the Southern California coast.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp says "Our fallen shipmate stood the watch on the front lines protecting our nation, and we are all indebted to him for his service and sacrifice."
He's been identified as 34-year-old Terrell Horne III of Redondo Beach, Calif. He suffered a traumatic head injury.
The second Coast Guardsman was treated for minor injuries.
The Coast Guard says the smuggler's panga, running without lights, maneuvered at a high rate of speed directly at the small boat before fleeing. Both Coast Guard members were thrown into the water.
Another Coast Guard vessel stopped the fleeing panga, and detained two suspects.
The small boat was deployed by the cutter Halibut, which was conducting an investigation into suspected smuggling near the Channel Islands west of Malibu.