Now Reading
BP agent shoots two as truck almost runs him down
local

From the archive: This story is more than 5 years old.

BP agent shoots two as truck almost runs him down

  • inventorchris/Flickr

A U.S. Border Patrol agent working on the Tohono O'odham Nation shot two men early Monday morning, when the driver of a truck tried to run him down while the agent was on foot.

The agent was working near San Miguel on the road to Sells around 12:15 a.m. when the truck carrying three Tohono O'odham men rammed the agent's marked vehicle as the driver tried to run him over, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The agent fired his service weapon and injured two of the three occupants, according to an unsigned statement from CBP. Both men who were shot were taken to an area hospital for treatment.

The agent was hurt in the incident, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries. The condition of the two men is unknown at this time, according to Border Patrol. The location of the third man was not provided by authorities.

The Tohono O'odham Police Department and the FBI are investigating the incident.

The shooting incident is at least the second in which shots were fired by a Tucson Sector agent this year.

In mid-January, a man was shot and killed by a BP agent during a struggle in Cochise County near the U.S.-Mexican border, officials said at the time.

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, CCSO's Carol Capas in a news release at the time. The man tried to take the agent's gun, leading the agent to shoot the man, Capas said.

In a February incident near San Diego, a BP agent shot and killed a 41-year-old Mexican migrant who was throwing rocks at the agent after being pursued.

The Cochise County incident was 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.

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

The Border Patrol has faced increasing public scrutiny over the agency's use of force. In the last nine years, Border Patrol agents have killed 42 people, including 13 Americans. 

The agency has also faced heavy criticism for incidents at ports of entry and border checkpoints throughout the Southwest. 

In response, Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher issued a memo on March 7 reminding agents that they "shall not discharge firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles unless the agent has a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances, to include the size and nature of the projectiles, that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious injury." Included in the memo was a reminder for agents to "seek cover or distance themselves from the immediate area of danger." 

A report by the Police Executive Research Forum, commissioned by agency, recommended that Border Patrol change its use-of-force policies, especially against rock throwers. The report also noted a more sobering fact: as the LA Times reported in February, some agents jumped in front of moving vehicles as a "pretext" to justify shootings.

According to data compiled by TucsonSentinel.com, Border Patrol agents have been assaulted 6,200 times between 2007 and 2012, including 355 incidents reported as vehicle assault. In 2013, border agents reported 2,346 assaults across the U.S., 136 of those within the Tucson Sector. The agency has refused to break out the number of vehicle assaults and rockings for 2013 either by sector or nationally. 

— 30 —

Best in Internet Exploder