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Border Community Holds Vigil After Border Patrol Shoots, Kills Migrant

A vigil next to the San Ysidro Port-of-Entry, where Border Patrol shot and ki...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: A vigil next to the San Ysidro Port-of-Entry, where Border Patrol shot and killed a Mexican citizen days prior. Community members gathered there on October 25th, 2020.

On Sunday evening, in a light drizzle in San Ysidro, people marched in a slow procession to where Border Patrol agents shot and killed a Mexican citizen next to the border fence two days earlier.

According to a message posted by Border Patrol San Diego sector station chief Aaron Heitke, agents were apprehending a man as he was illegally entering the United States.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

“During the arrest an altercation ensued, and the agent discharged his firearm, wounding the man,” Heitke said. He then went on to announce that the investigation into the shooting death will be led by the San Diego Police Department.

RELATED: Documents Reveal Serious Abuse Allegations By Minors In Border Patrol Custody

Reported by Max Rivlin-Nadler , Video by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Those who attended Sunday's vigil were skeptical that the investigation would be done without the influence or tampering by the agency behind the shooting.

“We’re here to reclaim our dignity, as border community-members, to say that we want a thorough, independent investigation, and we want that assurance from the San Diego Police Department,” said Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee. “We want those accountable to be held accountable, and we want transparency in this.”

Many there pointed out the similarities between this shooting and the killing of Anastasio Hernández Rojas by CBP agents ten years ago at the same port of entry. No agents were held accountable for his death, and CBP agents were heavily involved in the investigation into the shooting.

Hernandez Rojas’s widow, María Puga, addressed the crowd.

“I’m very angry, very angry,” she told the crowd in Spanish. “That the immigration authorities continue to murder, that they don’t stop.”

She said this person, who has not yet been identified, was a human. And that his family could still be waiting for him to come home.

The San Diego Police Department says that as of Monday afternoon, it has no new updates on the investigation.

The Mexican Consulate in San Diego also issued a press release over the weekend, saying that it has been unable to locate the family of the man killed, and will be monitoring the investigation closely.

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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