SAN DIEGO – An undocumented immigrant who hurled rocks at a Border Patrol agent in a remote area east of San Diego was killed when the agent responded with gunfire.
The incident occurred around 6:40 a.m. Tuesday in the mountainous Otay Mesa area some 3 miles from the border, when two agents intercepted a group of undocumented migrants who had crossed from Mexico into the United States.
One member of the group threw a rock at the face of an agent, who, “fearing for his life,” gunned the migrant down, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.
Gabriel Pacheco, an official with the union representing Border Patrol agents, described the area where the incident occurred as a hotbed of smuggling activities and other crimes for which routine inspections are normally made.
Two people were detained for crossing the border without papers while several others fled back to Mexico, he said.
Pacheco said the agent acted in self-defense.
The case was criticized by human-rights activists who disagree with the police concept of “bullets against rocks.”
An activist with the American Friends Service Committee, Pedro Rios, said that an investigation was required to determine “whether the agent had other options” besides using deadly force.
Rios criticized recent statements by Border Patrol Chief Mike Fisher suggesting that agents could continue using deadly force if threatened by people throwing rocks.