Sponsored by

Feds ID man wounded in Tombstone shootout with Border Patrol

The man shot and wounded by Border Patrol agents at checkpoint just north of Tombstone on Wednesday afternoon has been identified as 76-year-old Gary Smith. 

Smith was shot and wounded after he fired on two Border Patrol agents manning the checkpoint, said Felix Chavez, acting chief of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. 

Around 3:45 p.m., Smith crashed his black 2008 Dodge Dakota into traffic barriers at the checkpoint and then began shooting out the window at the agents. 

The agents "fearing for their lives" immediately returned fire, striking Smith once in the upper left arm, halting the assault, Chavez said. 

Both agents were on foot as the vehicle came crashing through the traffic barricades, said Chavez.

Agents were not actively stopping cars at the BP site at the time, due to high winds. Although the generally standing checkpoint was closed, the roadway was open for travel, authorities said.

Following the shooting, an agent with emergency medical training immediately began to treat Smith,  and he was later flown to a Tucson-area hospital for treatment. 

Smith remains in custody with Border Patrol while he recovers from a non-life threatening injury, Chavez said. 

Thanks to our donors and sponsors for their support of local independent reporting. Join Leslie Epperson, Sonoita Networking, and David Joseph and contribute today!

Neither agent was injured during the incident, said Chavez. They were both placed on administrative lead following the shooting as part of the agency's policy, he said.

Neither were identified by authorities.

At least two weapons were found in Smith's possession, but Chavez said that the investigation remains ongoing. 

Around 45 minutes before the incident, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office had received a call from a Tombstone resident, who said that her 76-year-old father had just left home, possibly toward Sierra Vista, said Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for CCSO, in a Facebook post. 

The woman said that her father had "medical issues" and had guns and alcohol with him, said Capas. 

CCSO relayed this information to agents at the checkpoint, said Steven Passement, a supervisory Border Patrol agent. 

The shooting incident demonstrates just how "dynamic and evolving" law enforcement situations are, Chavez said, adding that he took great solace in the fact that agents came home safe after "performing admirably." 

The FBI is leading the investigation, with the assistance of CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility, the Tombstone Marshal’s Office and CCSO, said Chavez 

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

- 30 -
have your say   

Comments

There are no comments on this report. Sorry, comments are closed.

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Click image to enlarge

Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Tucson Sector Chief Felix Chavez briefs reporters on a shooting that took place at the checkpoint just north of Tombstone on Wednesday. One man was wounded in the exchange of gunfire.