GUN Shooting at border not unique occurrence

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by shiizz0n, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. shiizz0n

    shiizz0n OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
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    San Diego, CA

    Shooting at border not unique occurrence
    Some past smuggling attempts ended fatally
    By Leslie Berestein
    2:00 a.m. September 24, 2009

    The dangerous daytime smuggling attempt that prompted three federal agents to start shooting, shutting down the San Ysidro border crossing Tuesday, was brazen but not unheard of.

    Human and drug smugglers have long tried running the ports of entry, some with premeditation, others in a fit of panic after they aroused suspicion.

    The protocol is for officers to fire their weapons if they feel their lives are in danger, said Harold Washington, president of the union representing Customs and Border Protection officers in San Diego.

    “It is a lifesaving function,” Washington said. “You do that when your life is in danger, (when) you have been threatened.”

    San Diego police, who are investigating the shooting, said agents fired when one of the smugglers drove a van toward them.

    “They feared for their safety,” Lt. Kevin Rooney said.

    Preliminary reports indicate that the shots were fired by two Customs and Border Protection officers and one U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

    Two people were injured by gunfire. An innocent border crosser was among two others hurt in the incident. None of the wounds or injuries was considered life-threatening.

    In all, three vans carrying dozens of suspected illegal immigrants were involved in the incident.

    The action by the agents drew some criticism because of the possible danger to nearby motorists waiting in line.

    “The results of such a violent reaction from federal agents could have been a lot worse,” said Adriana Jasso of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker-affiliated human-rights group that has issued a statement condemning the shooting.

    Not all border-running incidents result in a violent ending.

    Last month at San Ysidro, a van loaded with 42 people moved across the border into the United States through the southbound lanes in the early-morning hours, said Angelica De Cima, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection. The vehicle was sighted on Interstate 905 and eventually pulled over after the U.S. Border Patrol and California Highway Patrol responded, De Cima said.

    The San Ysidro Port of Entry is equipped with tire shredders and other vehicle-stopping devices intended to stop anyone who barges through.

    And while the likelihood is that they won't make it, some do. In late 2006, a van loaded with drugs got through at San Ysidro and later was found abandoned.

    Shots have been fired before at the port of entry, sometimes fatally. In May 2006, a driver was shot and killed as he tried to drive a vehicle loaded with illegal immigrants back into Mexico.

    Tuesday's incident occurred about 3:30 p.m., officials said.

    In a border-running scenario, “if you do not have time to escape, you have to defend yourself,” said Washington, of National Treasury Employees Union Local 105.

    He said the idea is “to stop them right there, to prevent them from doing any harm to innocent bystanders or other officers. They can do all kinds of damage.”

    This could be anything from a dangerous traffic chase to an act of terrorism, Washington said. Some who try to evade port authorities have turned violent, including a 74-year-old man in the late 1990s who opened fire on customs officers in Calexico while trying to smuggle marijuana. Two officers were wounded before the man was shot dead.

    Tuesday's shootings occurred after a customs agent stepped into his booth to check the license of the first van. All three drivers stormed the border together and tried to find open lanes that would lead to Interstate 5 or Interstate 805, Rooney said.

    The vans ended up stuck in traffic, and two of them backed up to find other avenues of escape. The three federal officers opened fire when the driver of one of the vans drove toward them, Rooney said.

    Two people were hit by gunfire, including a 31-year-old man who was driving the van and a 42-year-old male passenger.

    The driver of that van continued to a lane on the west side of the port, where he crashed into a pickup, injuring a 30-year-old passenger in the truck.

    Another passenger in the van, a 37-year-old man, suffered a head injury and cuts as a result of the crash, police said.

    Two people, a U.S. citizen and a Mexican citizen, were arrested in connection with the smuggling attempt. A third man, now at a hospital, will be arrested today, ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said.

    A total of 79 people were taken into custody; some passengers will be held as material witnesses, Mack said.

    The driver of one of the vans, arrested by Mexican authorities after the van returned to Mexico, is a minor and a Mexican citizen, De Cima said.

  2. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Merced Co., CA
    good thing these hand-wringing pussies weren't around back in the 50s or so. I read Bill Jordan's book--he was a Border Patrolman from the '30s to the mid-'60s, and he said that for a few years there, gunfights were so common, especially at night, that uninvolved agents usually didn't bother investigating anymore, since the guys involved knew what they were doing so well by then.

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