Border Patrol officials Friday announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man suspected of shooting an agent Sunday in Vista.
William Beaumet was shot five times in the legs while pursuing a man suspected of being an undocumented alien.
The reward was announced by Harold Ezell, western regional commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, at the Border Patrol's Chula Vista station.
The Border Patrol identified the suspect as David Lopez-Arguelles, but he has been known to use aliases, such as "Cantante," (singer) and "El Mariachi," officials said.
Officials said Lopez-Arguelles has been arrested several times before, but never for violent crimes.
Lt. William Baxter of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's homicide detail said a gunman shot Beaumet in one leg and, when the agent fell to the ground, fired four more times, shattering the bone in the other leg.
Beaumet remains in stable condition at Palomar Hospital, said a spokesman for the Border Patrol.
The reward, which officials said will also be valid in Mexico, is a response to the violence that Ezell said has been escalating for two years. In 1984, there were 56 assaults on border agents. In 1985, there have been 77 assaults, 17 of them since October, Ezell said.
The joint effort with the Sheriff's Department is an attempt to discourage further attacks on agents, Deputy Chief Border Patrol Agent Mike Williams said.
"As long as we keep allowing this sieve of immigration across the border, there will be violence. This reward is an indication that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior," Williams said.
Beaumet was wounded when, on a routine patrol of the city about 1 a.m. Sunday, he and his partner noticed a man in an alley, Baxter said.
When Beaumet approached the man on foot, he ran. Beaumet chased the man around a corner and was shot. By the time other agents reached Beaumet, the man was running away and escaped, Baxter said.
Beaumet provided details that helped identify Lopez-Arguelles as the suspect.
Williams said Lopez-Arguelles has been known to work as a laborer, most often in a "nursery or gardening type of occupation" and is a longtime resident of Vista.
Lopez-Arguelles is described as a Mexican national; 27; 5-foot-8; about 160 pounds; very dark brown, wavy hair; brown eyes; a thin mustache, and thick mutton-chop sideburns. He has a cleft chin and an upside-down-Y-shaped scar on the bridge of his nose.