The FBI is investigating a deadly shooting at the U.S.-Mexico border between U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and a man trying to enter into the U.S. illegally.
The suspect, who was shot and killed Tuesday night near San Ysidro Port of Entry, was throwing rocks at the agents when he was shot and killed officials said.
Two agents called for help from San Diego police, saying they were being attacked with rocks and sticks near the border fence line around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Investigators said the incident involved three people crossing the border fence east of Dairy Mart Road.
A second agent was called in for backup when an agent spotted the group crossing through a hole in the fence.
Two suspects fled back into Mexico through the opening but agents caught a third suspect who resisted arrest officials said.
During the scuffle, another suspect started throwing rocks and a piece wood with nails at the agents from the other side of the fence, striking one of the agents.
As the suspect began to throw another large rock at the agents, the first Border Patrol Agent fired his service weapon at a suspect, striking him once, police said.
That conflicts with reports from police in Tijuana, Mexico, who say the man was shot in the torso and head according to the Associated Press.
The unidentified suspect then fell back across the fence, landing on the Mexico side of the border, police said.
The local ACLU, citing accounts from Mexico, said Jose Alfredo Yañez Reyes was with his wife and baby on the Mexican side of the border before the shooting.
Mexican authorities identified the victim as Jose Alfredo Yanez, 40, of Tijuana.
Heriberto Garcia, the Baja California state human rights ombudsman, said Yanez worked at a towing company and had a young child with his 18-year-old girlfriend, who is five months' pregnant with their second child.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department says in a Wednesday statement that it has asked for a thorough investigation of the death.
It says it was "disproportionate" for the officer to use firearms to repel an attack with stones.
Shawn Moran, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, considered the reaction of agents in line with the rules of engagement for agents protecting the U.S. border.
“Our job is to arrest people that break the laws of the United States and when they attack our agents, they risk their lives,” said Moran. “Unfortunately, this person, he risked his life and he lost.”
“Our job is to go home at the end of the shift,” he said. “Our job is not to get beat up, to get rocks thrown at us, to get shot, to get killed.”
“If we have to shoot a criminal who was attacking a Border Patrol agent, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Moran believes if the agent hadn’t acted in the way he had, the agent would have been killed.
Local representatives for the American Civil Liberties Union said Border Patrol agents have resisted sharing their rules of engagement with public agencies in San Diego.
“What we fear from their public statements and their actions is that the rules are not adequate, that it is too cavalier about taking people’s lives,” said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
The suspect in the agents’ custody was arrested but has not been identified.
The agent who fired the shots is a 3-year-veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, according to a police news release. The second agent who was injured during the incident was treated at a local hospital and released.
Once the FBI completes its investigation, the results will be turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office for review.
Keenan believes the community will never hear any results from the investigation.
“We have a new U.S. Attorney who might take a different tack but we don’t think so,” he said adding that he believes Congress needs to figure out a way to give border communities more input in how federal agencies operate.