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Steve Bannon accepts Brian Terry Award in Tucson, protesters outside

Steve Bannon in Tucson this weekend
Posted at 6:08 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-19 00:37:49-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was in Tucson Saturday night. 

Bannon was the keynote speaker at the Brian Terry Foundation Courage Awards and Dinner on Saturday at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. 

DETAILS: Marriott to allow press to cover Bannon event.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed near Rio Rico in 2010. The night he died Terry was on a high-risk mission searching the desert for rip crews.

Terry's death unveiled the Fast and Furious operation in which federal agents allowed criminals to buy guns with the intention of tracking them to criminal organizations. But the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost most of the guns, including two that were found at scene of Terry's death.

In October authorities arrested the final defendant in connection to Terry's death.

Saturday night Bannon accepted the Brian Terry Courage in Journalism and Reporting Award on behalf of Breitbart News. Bannon serves as the executive chairman of Breitbart.

 

 

A group called the Tucson Solidarity says it's organizing a protest against Bannon near the entrance of the Marriott.

Sarah Kusar says she decided to protest to protest Steve Bannon and "everything he stands for." 

Below is a portion of that release: 

We say no.  We condemn the bigotry and racism of white supremacy by Bannon. His association with Breitbart News gives him a platform spewing hate and divisiveness poisoning our culture.

Organizer Tim Lennon says, "Tucson will not support Bannon." Nearly 100 protesters showed up at the J.W. Marriott. 

 

 

Lennon says he sees the Tucson community as very welcoming and there is no room for Bannon and what Lennon calls the "alt-right."

However the Terry family says over the years Breitbart has continued to hold the Obama Administration accountable for Operation Fast and Furious.

"They've reached out to our family so much and have put Brian's name out there so much. And for the whistleblowers for Fast and Furious," said Brian's sister Kelly Terry-Willis. "We're not only doing this just for answers for Brian."

"We don't want this to happen again down the line. We don't want anyone's family to go through what we've gone through the last seven years," said Brian's sister Michelle Terry-Balogh.

The mission of the Brian Terry Foundation is to assist families of fallen Border Patrol agents and provide college scholarships to those interested in law enforcement careers.

The family says the foundation will hand out 26 scholarships on Saturday and that's what Brian would have wanted. Family members say Brian was giving, loved his country and what he did.

"We just want to give back how we were given - the emotional support, the financial support," Terry-Willis said. 

Brian's mother Josephine Terry says coming back to Tucson is always comforting.

"I like coming here because it seems like once we get off the plane we just feel, I feel like I'm closer to Brian," Josephine said. 

Despite the most recent arrest in connection to Brian's death, Josephine says she'll feel closure "when all those who started the program of Fast and Furious are held accountable."

About 300 to 400 people are expected at the event Saturday, the Terry family says. Tickets cost $50 and all proceeds go back to the foundation. It starts at 5 p.m.

 

 

Other honorees this year will include ATF Agent John Dodson, who the foundation says blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious, and Tucson philanthropist Norma Zimdahl.

Previous speakers and honorees include CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.