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Family Of Woman Killed In Border Patrol Shooting Calls For Answers

The family of a mother of five fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent last week in a South Bay neighborhood called on the federal agency today to provide a full explanation and justification for the lethal use of force.

"I want to know why,'' Valentin Tachiquin said about the death of his 32-year-old daughter, Valeria. "What caused the Border Patrol agent to shoot (her) multiple times? My family wants answers, and we are seeking justice.''

During a late-morning news conference in North Park, the grieving father described his family as shocked and confused by the violent death of the woman, who was shot after she allegedly used a car to ram the plainclothes agent on Moss Street in Chula Vista early Friday afternoon.

"My daughter is -- or was -- a loving wife, loving daughter, a lovable mother who ... really cared for her kids, and (a) ... very happy person,'' he said in a halting voice. "She ... wouldn't hurt anybody.''

Tachiquin characterized his daughter as an innocent victim.

"It could have been your sister,'' he told reporters. "It could have been your mother. ... It could have been anybody. What are we going to do about that?''

He said no one from the Border Patrol has contacted him about the deadly shooting.

Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee U.S.-Mexico Border Program, accused the federal agency of showing "a troubling and growing pattern of abuse and excessive use of force.''

"Our community demands to know what led to such a brutal act by that plainclothes agent,'' Rios said.

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection could not immediately be reached for comment.

The lawman, whose name has not been released, was in the residential neighborhood just east of Interstate 5 with other undercover personnel when a dark-green Honda Accord struck him about 1 p.m., according to police and federal officials.

"The agent ... was hit by the vehicle and carried several hundred yards on the hood before, fearing for his life, (he) did discharge his weapon to get the vehicle to stop,'' Border Patrol Deputy Chief Rodney Scott told reporters earlier.

Area residents described hearing six to eight shots ring out. The woman, a U.S. citizen who lived in the Southcrest area of San Diego, died at the scene.

She was not the subject of the warrant the Border Patrol personnel were trying to serve, Scott said.

The agent was treated at a hospital for minor injuries, officials said.

The Chula Vista Police Department was investigating the case in conjunction with the Border Patrol and U.S. Inspector General's Office, CVPD Lt. Lon Turner said.

The Tachiquin family planned to hold a candlelight vigil this evening near the site of the shooting.

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