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Border Patrol Agent Fatally Shoots Suspect In Otay Area

Photo by Jill Replogle

U.S. Border Patrol agents monitor the road leading to where a suspect was shot, Feb. 19, 2014.

Aired 2/18/14 on KPBS News.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a man along a rugged section of the Otay Mountains in southeast San Diego early Tuesday, authorities said.

Special Feature Deadly Patrols

Civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol agents are increasing even though illegal immigration and assaults against agents are down.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a man along a rugged section of the Otay Mountains in southeast San Diego early Tuesday, authorities said.

According to San Diego Sheriff’s homicide Lt. Glenn Giannantonio, the two Border Patrol agents had split up to cut off a group of three suspected undocumented immigrants when the shooting occurred about 4 miles east of the Otay Mesa border crossing on 6:40 a.m. Tuesday.

"The two agents were out of sight of each other when one of the agents was struck in the face by a rock thrown by one of the suspects. Fearing for his safety, the agent fired his duty pistol at the man, striking him," Giannantonio said in a statement.

Agents tried to revive the man, who was declared dead at the scene. The agent suffered minor injuries.

Since 2010, Border Patrol agents have shot and killed nine people in response to rock throwing. Last year, a government-commissioned review of the agency recommended that it stop responding to rock throwing with deadly force.

Authorities have not released the names of the officer or victim.

Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents are authorized to use deadly force if they believe they are in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury.

Rock attacks were the most frequent type of assault on Border Patrol agents in fiscal year 2011 and the second most frequent type of assault in fiscal year 2012, according to a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General.

Of 339 reported rock-throwing incidents in 2011, agents responded with a firearm to 33 of them. Of 185 rock attacks in 2012, agents responded with a firearm to 22.

The two other suspected undocumented immigrants currently are in Border Patrol custody.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 18, 2014 at 10:27 a.m. ― 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 18, 2014 at 2:45 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Sorry my other comment fell out of the usage agreement. I will revise:

I commend this brave border agent for putting his life on the line and permanently eliminating the threat posed by this violent criminal who entered our country illegally and attempted to inflict grave injury on their person.

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Avatar for user 'buenasolas'

buenasolas | February 18, 2014 at 3:11 p.m. ― 3 years ago

This is tragic, for the family of the suspect, and the border patrol agent. The last thing I am is a law-enforcement apologist, but violence begets violence. Running away is one thing, but throwing rocks at an armed border patrol agent is probably not the best course of action.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 19, 2014 at 8:49 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Of course they never release the names. Probably a Gonzalez shooting a Sanchez, which is the real irony here for the Nativists.

More details are yet to come, and maybe, it was self-defense. The questionable thing here is that LE will be investigating LE, so one can't hope for much objectivity. What IS certain, is that BP agents have been charged with smuggling, taking bribes, or looking the other way in such cases, and even rape, but NO ONE can name me one who has been charged with murder of a person crossing the border or excessive use of force.

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