Family Mourns, Questions Loss of Mother Shot by Border Patrol Agent

New details in the case of a mother fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent in southern California were released Tuesday that claim the woman was inside a house where agents were following up on information about drug activity.

Though the investigation is ongoing, the Chula Vista Police Department released some details in a case that has troubled the family and friends of Valeria "Munique" Alvarado, who was shot and killed on Friday.

According to the department, Alvarado, also known as Valeria Tachiquin, was inside a home on Moss Street when a group of agents came to the door to arrest a prior deported felon. The agents identified themselves as law enforcement. They also say at the time of contact, agents knew the people inside had prior complaints of drug activity.

Alvarado left the home and multiple plain-clothes agents followed her to her car. She entered the car and pulled away from the curb, hitting one of the agents at least once with her car, according to the department's statement.

The agent told Alvarado that she was under arrest for vehicular assault and a second agent attempted to reach into the car to remove the keys. She then struck the agent again, propelling him onto the hood of her car as she drove westbound on Moss Street for about 200 yards, the statement read.

At that point, Alvarado turned near Oaklawn Avenue and the agent drew his service weapon and fired multiple rounds into the windshield. Agents rendered first-aid until medical personnel arrived, but she was pronounced dead shortly after.

Alvarado was not the subject of the search warrant, but she was on probation for a 2011 drug-related arrest, according to the CVPD.

Prior to the release of the details on Tuesday, Alvarado's family was been desperate for answers and critical of the agents who shot her.

The family was not available for comment Tuesday. According to the immigrant rights group working with the family, they are picking up Alvarado's body from the Medical Examiner's office.

"Why he had to shoot my daughter nine times, I don't understand," said Valentin Tachiquin, Alvarado's father at a Monday vigil. "We don't know who leads the investigation, we don't know who is in charge of the investigation."

Among the family and friends mourning Alvarado's loss Monday night at the candlelight vigil were several human rights advocates, who believe Alvarado was killed unjustly.

"There is a troubling and growing pattern of abuse and excessive use-of-force committed by Border Patrol agents; our community demands to know what led to such a brutal act by that plainclothes agent," said Pedro Ríos, director of the American Friends Service Committee US Mexico Border Program in a statement.

Family members said Alvarado, a U.S. citizen, went to Chula Vista High School. The five children she leaves behind range in age from three to 17.

The family hired attorney Eugene Iredale to help them find answers. Iredale has been involved in some high-profile San Diego cases involving allegations of officer excessive force.

Attorney Gretchen Von Helms has worked on excessive force cases and said if the agent thought he was being attacked, then he had the right to open fire.

"You can only use deadly force if they are attacking you and trying to hurt or kill you, that's the only time deadly force is permissible," said Von Helms.

However several witnesses say Alvarado's car was backing away from the agent as he opened fire.

"That is very critical because that would contradict the officer's statement that he was in danger and needed to use deadly force," said Von Helms.

Von Helms says it appears Alvarado may have gotten scared and tried to back away from a stranger with a gun.

The department is still working with other law enforcement agencies to complete the investigation. Some witness interviews are still pending, as well as some physical evidence. The results of Alvarado's autopsy are also pending.

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