A U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a young Mexican man who had fled across the border into Mexico, the agency said.
The Border Patrol issued a statement Thursday saying that agents responded around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to reports of two suspected drug smugglers on the U.S. side of the border in Nogales, Ariz.
The agents reported seeing the men “drop a narcotics load” on the U.S. side of the border before jumping a wall or a fence to flee into Mexico.
Once in Mexico, according to the Border Patrol account, the men started throwing rocks at the agents. When they refused to stop, “one agent discharged his service firearm.”
Field supervisors have been ordered by Washington officials to downplay the smuggling threats, a former DEA supervisor says – a charge U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehemently denies. NBC's Mark Potter reports.
“One of the subjects appeared to have been hit,” the Border Patrol statement says. Border Patrol immediately notified the Mexican government; on the U.S. side, the investigation into the shooting is being led by the FBI.
The man was hit 10 times from behind, a doctor in the area told Telemundo. Municipal and state investigative police also said the man was shot several times. They said they found the man, in his mid-20s or early 30s, lying on his stomach.
The man was about 32 feet -- about the length of a yellow school bus -- from the international line when he was shot, Telemundo reported.
About 5,200 Border Patrol agents patrol the Arizona border with Mexico, spokesman Victor Brabble said. That’s 859 more agents than in 2010, representing the Obama administration’s commitment to adding more agents to the border.
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