Mexican Mayor Says Boy Shot by US Agent 7 Times - was throwing rocks

In this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, vehicles drive along the border fence in Nogales, Mexico. A U.S. Border Patrol agent opened fire on a group of people throwing rocks from across the Mexican border, killing a teenage boy and eliciting outrage from the Mexican government over the use of lethal force, authorities said Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. From [HERE] and [HERE] A mayor in Mexico says a boy killed by a U.S. federal agent was shot seven times.

Nogales Mayor Ramon Guzman Munoz called the shooting "deplorable." The Sonora State Investigative Police, or PEI, said 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez of Nogales, Sonora was found dead of gunshot wounds on the sidewalk on the south side of Calle Internacional, which faces the border fence on the west side of downtown.

Eyewitness account

In a report Thursday afternoon on Radio XENY of Nogales, Sonora, reporter Cesar Barron said that according to an eyewitness, two males were climbing on the border fence, apparently on their way back from the U.S. side, when the Border Patrol agents arrived.

According to the witness, the agents told the suspects that they were going to be arrested, and that they were better off behind bars in the United States than in Mexico. The suspects reportedly responded with an obscenity.

At that point, four more males arrived on the Mexican side and began to throw rocks toward the fence in an apparent effort to help the two suspects escape. That's when an agent began firing, the witness told Barron.

Some of the bullets reportedly struck the walls of a medical office behind Rodríguez. Luis Contreras Sánchez, the physician who operates the office, was quoted by the newspaper Expreso as saying the building was hit 14 times. Other news outlets put the count between five and “12 or more.”

Contreras Sánchez’s building and the sidewalk where Rodríguez's body was found are located below a point at which the border fence begins rising up a hill, and are approximately 12 feet below the base of the 25-foot fence. The fence is comprised of interconnected steel poles with 4 inches of space between them.

McKenzie said the Border Patrol notified Mexican authorities following the shooting and secured the scene on the U.S. side.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is fully cooperating with the FBI-led investigation,” he said.

Border Patrol officials have only said it appeared someone was shot. An investigation was ongoing.

Police Version

The U.S. Border Patrol says several agents responded Wednesday night to reports of suspected drug smugglers in Nogales, Ariz., then were pelted by rocks thrown at them from across the border. The agency says the people ignored orders to stop, and an agent opened fired.Lt. Carlos Jimenez of the Nogales Police Department said the incident began when NPD officers responded to a report of suspicious activity on West International Street. The report involved males carrying bundles, he said.

“Our guys got there, they encountered some people who started fleeing south,” Jimenez said.

Then Border Patrol agents arrived on the scene.

According to Border Patrol spokesman Shelton McKenzie, the agents responded to reports of two suspected drug smugglers near West International Street and Hereford Drive at approximately 11:30 p.m.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the agents observed the smugglers drop a narcotics load on the U.S. side of the international boundary and flee back to Mexico,” McKenzie said in an emailed statement. “Subjects at the scene then began assaulting the agents with rocks. After verbal commands from agents to cease were ignored, one agent then discharged his service firearm. One of the subjects appeared to have been hit.”

Photos taken by Sonoran media showed authorities and emergency responders surrounding a lifeless body on the sidewalk on the south side of Calle Internacional, near the intersection with Calle Ingenieros. Some of the photos showed a pool of blood coming from the victim’s head.

The PEI said Rodríguez was shot "various" times in different parts of his body. Ramón Guzmán, mayor of Nogales, Sonora, told The Associated Press on Friday that Rodríguez was shot seven times. He called the shooting "deplorable."

In comments to the newspaper El Imparcial on Thursday, Guzmán said that “Independent of whether it was a result of seemingly irregular or illicit acts, it is not the logical conduct to take the life of another human being," adding: “I hope it’s not going to come out (in the United States) that it was for legitimate defense.”

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat, or SRE, condemned the shooting in a statement released late Thursday.

“The disproportionate use of  lethal force while performing immigration control is unacceptable under any circumstances,” it said. “Cases of this type, especially due to their regular occurrence, have been rejected by Mexican society and all the political powers and forces of the country."

Other incidents

Wednesday’s shooting was the fifth incident reported by the NI since 2010 in which a Border Patrol agent fired at alleged rock-throwers in Nogales city limits, either with live rounds or alternative ammunition. It was the second fatal incident.

On June 17, 2010, agents fired on suspected drug smugglers after they were reportedly assaulted with rocks in the same west side area as Wednesday’s shooting. No injuries were reported.

On Jan. 5, 2011, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed 17-year-old Ramses Barron Torres of Nogales, Sonora when he and others on the Mexican side of the fence allegedly began throwing rocks at agents as they tried to arrest drug smugglers below the Hudgins Street turnaround.

On May 3, 2011, a Nogales-based Border Patrol agent used a pepper ball launcher to repel a rock-throwing smuggling suspect and seize $12,500 worth of marijuana. No injuries were reported.

And on Jan. 30, 2012, an agent fired at alleged rock-throwers below the Hudgins Street turnaround during a drug-smuggling bust. One man was treated at a Nogales, Sonora hospital for gunshot wounds to his abdomen and forearm, but he claimed that he was a bystander and had been hit by chance while walking down the street in the Colonia Buenos Aires.