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Man shot, killed in struggle with Border Patrol

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Man shot, killed in struggle with Border Patrol

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 A man was fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent Thursday night during a struggle in Cochise County near the U.S.-Mexican border, officials said Friday.

Border agents tracking a group of suspected illegal immigrants in Cochise County apprehended two people without incident, but a third ran away, said a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office.

The man was found hiding under a mesquite tree and started a fight with the federal border agent, said CCSO's Carol Capas in a news release. The man tried to take the agent's gun, leading the agent to shoot the man, Capas said.

An unsigned statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed the shooting:

"... one of the subjects became combative with the arresting agent. During the ensuing struggle the subject attempted to take the agent's service weapon.  The agent was able to take control of his weapon and fired it, striking the subject. The subject was later pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency medical services.

The man was wounded in the upper body and killed, Capas said. He has not been identified.

The CBP statement said the "two subjects taken into custody were male Mexican nationals illegally present in the country," but did not indicate the citizenship of the man who was killed.

The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. west of State Route 80, near mile marker 388, the CBP statement said. The agency said it would not comment further, referring inquires to the Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the shooting.

An autopsy on the man who was killed is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, said Gregory Hess, chief medical examiner for Pima County, whose office handles forensic investigations for Cochise County. Hess said his office will work on identifying the man if CCSO has not yet done so.

The incident is the first fatal shooting by a Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent since the December 2012 shooting death of a suspected illegal immigrant near Sasabe. That incident was preceded by the October 2012 death of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, shot by a BP agent through the border fence in Nogales.

Earlier in October 2012, BP Agent Nicholas Ivie was killed by friendly fire in an incident between Bisbee and Douglas.

Also in December 2012, a Yuma Sector agent shot and wounded a man southwest of Gila Bend while investigating "possible bandit activity."

Check back for updates.

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