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Border Patrol agent kills suspected rock-thrower, authorities say

October 11, 2012|By Richard Marosi

A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed a man suspected of throwing rocks at agents during a drug-smuggling attempt in Nogales, Ariz.,  the latest in a spate of fatal shootings of civilians along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Suspected smugglers were carrying marijuana into Arizona late Wednesday night when agents converged on the scene, sending the men fleeing back over the border fence into downtown Nogales, Mexico, according to U.S. authorities. The agents came under attack by rock throwers and ordered them to stop, without effect, officials said.

“They didn’t cease, and agents discharged their weapons,” said Victor Brabble, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  “At that time, they believed they did strike one of the assailants.”

Mexican media reported that the man fell face-down next to a medical office that was peppered with bullet marks. Nogales Mayor Ramon Guzman Munoz told the Mexican newspaper El Imparcial that the man was hit with eight bullets. His identity has not yet been released. 

It was the third agent-involved fatal shooting since September. Last month a woman was fatally shot while allegedly trying to run over an agent in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. In early September, an alleged rock thrower was shot on the banks of the Rio Grande near Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

The agent in Wednesday’s shooting incident has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation by the FBI, Brabble said.

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