A U.S. Border Patrol agent was allegedly assaulted near the U.S.-Mexico border in Baja California Wednesday night, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
Border Patrol officials said the assault happened around 8 p.m. approximately two miles west of the Tecate Port of Entry, which is about 50 miles from San Diego.
Officials said two Border Patrol agents were patrolling the area adjacent to the border fence on all-terrain vehicles when a rock six inches in diameter was thrown over the fence from the Mexico side.
The rock (pictured below) struck an agent’s helmet. The impact from the blow knocked him off his moving ATV, officials said.
The Border Patrol agent sustained injuries to his head, wrist and elbow in the rock-throwing incident and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Immediately following the assault, an infrared scope-operator monitoring the area was contacted but agents were unable to locate any suspect, officials said.
San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Paul Beeson said the agent’s helmet likely saved him from suffering critical injuries. He said this case is another example of the “unpredictable dangers” agents face on the job each day.
According to the U.S. Border Patrol, there have been 408 assaults against Border Patrol agents in San Diego Sector since 2010.
Before this, the most recent clash at the U.S.-Mexico border also involved rocks – and more than 100 people pelting agents in a chaotic, riot-like altercation.
That incident – which investigators believe was organized long before the violence erupted – happened on Nov. 24, 2013, in the Tijuana River Channel near the San Ysidro Port of Entry. At the time, NBC 7 obtained cell phone video that captured the melee at the border.
CBP officials said the large, unruly crowd began running toward the border, hurling rocks and bottles at agents as they tried to illegally cross into the United States. One agent was hit on the head by a full, flying water bottle.
Beeson said agents used pepper spray, pepper balls and tasers in an attempt to thin the crowd. Once agents used “intermediate use-of-force” devices, the group retreated back to the Mexico side of the border. No one was seriously injured and no one made it past border agents.
Officials said a flier containing a message written in Spanish was distributed in the days leading up to the event, indicating it was an organized affair.
The flier encouraged people to meet at the border on Nov. 24 and attempt to cross over into the U.S. together. The flier mentioned reunions with family members and living the “American Dream."