A U.S. border agent shot and killed a Mexican man on Tuesday while
on patrol near San Diego, after being pelted with rocks while trying
to apprehend a group of suspected illegal border crossers. One of
the rocks hit him in the head.
"We firmly reiterate that the use of lethal force in border control
operations is unacceptable," Mexico's foreign ministry said in a
statement released by the Mexican consulate in San Diego.
"The Government of Mexico expects ... that those responsible be held
accountable," it added, saying it would await the results of U.S.
investigations into the incident.
The statement cited 21 deaths of Mexican nationals as a result of
encounters with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents along the
U.S.-Mexico border since 2010.
The man who was killed, 41-year-old Jesus Flores-Cruz, was shot
twice by an unnamed Border Patrol agent about 100 yards north of the
U.S.-Mexico border, according to San Diego Sheriff's Department
Lieutenant Glenn Giannantonio.
According to sheriff's department, the Border Patrol agent
encountered Flores-Cruz in a rugged area about 10 miles east of the
Pacific Ocean while searching for a group of at least five people
suspected of entering the United States illegally.
Flores-Cruz "threw progressively larger rocks down at the agent,
with the largest being approximately the size of a basketball," a
sheriff's report said. The agent, who was hit at least once, then
shot Flores-Cruz. The border patrol agent was treated at a hospital
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been criticized in recent
years over concerns that agents may have sometimes been too quick to
use lethal force. Sixteen members of Congress called for a review of
use-of-force incidents and policy in 2012. Last year, the agency
said it would train officers to defuse threats.
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Flores-Cruz was identified using fingerprints obtained by the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Agency in a 1996 arrest in the same area. According
to court records, Flores-Cruz and another man were arrested carrying
backpacks full of marijuana into the U.S. in 1996. Flores was
convicted in state court, served his sentence and was deported,
court records indicate.
U.S. Border Patrol Division Chief Kelly Good said he could not
discuss the specific incident because it was under investigation.
But Good said that Border Patrol agents have been trained and are
frequently retrained on how to respond all threats posed by an
"Rocking incidents such as these pose significant danger to Border
Patrol agent lives and have resulted in serious injuries, some so
significant that the agents were unable to return to work," Good
"Customs and Border Protection law enforcement personnel are trained
to use deadly force only in situations where the threat they face is
imminent danger to their lives or to the lives of bystanders," Good
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)
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