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Border Patrol agents shoot and kill man after rolling shootout near Quartzsite

Yuma-area Border Patrol agents shot and killed a man early Wednesday morning following a rolling shootout — in which a gunman first drove a Mustang and then hijacked a semi-truck — that ended at a gas station in Quartzsite, Ariz., authorities said.

At 12:56 a.m., an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper stopped a blue Ford Mustang on the westbound lane of Interstate 10 near milepost 57, about 40 miles east of Quartzsite, a town about 125 miles west of Phoenix, according to a spokesman for the agency. 

As the trooper and driver talked about the reason for the traffic stop, a passenger got out the Mustang and fired a gun at the trooper, said the spokesman. 

The trooper shot back. The gunman took control of the car and fled the scene, heading westbound along Interstate 10. The driver was taken into custody, DPS said.

The La Paz County Sheriff's Office asked Border Patrol to help locate a suspect in a "fleeing vehicle," said Rob Daniels, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman. 

DPS, along with deputies from the La Paz Sheriff's Office and Border Patrol agents searched the area, and located the Mustang on I-10 near milepost 17. 

Border Patrol agents attempted to stop the vehicle, said DPS, but the pursuit continued another six miles to Dome Rock Road. There the man exchanged gunfire with agents, and then fled on foot across the highway to a nearby rest stop. 

There he broke into a commercial semi-tractor trailer and took the vehicle "by force from the driver," the spokesman said. 

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The commercial truck driver was injured, but did not need transport for medical treatment, the spokesman said. 

The suspect drove the semi eastbound on Interstate 10 and then took an exit, again exchanging gunfire with troopers, agents and deputies. 

Around 2:30 a.m., at a gas station on Main Street in Quartzsite, the truck was "finally stopped and a final exchange of gunfire occurred," the DPS spokesman said. 

Border Patrol agents fired their weapons, and the man "sustained serious injuries," Daniels said. Officials immediately began "administering advanced life-saving techniques," said DPS spokesman. The man was transported to an area hospital via air ambulance, but "later succumbed to his injuries," Daniels said. 

No one else was injured in the exchange of gunfire from the incident.

Authorities did not release the identity of the dead man. The Mustang was initially pulled over for having an expired license plate.

Following the incident, DPS closed several miles of westbound I-10 until around 8 a.m.

The FBI, along with CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility, the Department of Public Safety and the La Paz County Sheriff's Department are involved in the ongoing investigation, said Daniels. 

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.

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CBP

A stolen semi-tractor trailer was stolen during an incident that ended when Border Patrol agents shot and killed the suspect after he repeatedly fired on law enforcement officers early Wednesday morning.