September 25, 2009

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department “concerned” about American Border Patrol Agents defending themselves against speeding smuggling vehicles

Posted by D.A. King at 9:55 am - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Associated Press

Police: Agents felt trapped in border shooting

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Federal agents felt trapped when they opened fire on the driver of one of two vans packed with suspected illegal immigrants that barreled toward them at the nation’s busiest bordercrossing, an official said Wednesday.

The agents “were out on foot, they didn’t have an area of safety they felt they could go to, and the drivers were going right at them,” said San Diego police Lt. Kevin Rooney.

Four people were injured after drivers of three vans stormed past an inspector Tuesday at the San Ysidro border crossing connecting San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

The drivers were trying to escape onto nearby Interstate 5. But the vans got stuck behind cars in an area that funnels vehicles through a few lanes to the freeway.

Authorities also activated a system of tire shredders and steel planks that shoot up from the ground at the freeway entrance.

Drivers of two of the vans backed up and drove toward another freeway entrance, heading for the agents who drew their guns and yelled for the drivers to stop, Rooney said.

The agents felt that if they jumped out of the way, they might dodge the first van but not the second, he said. Others in the area may also have been in harm’s way, Rooney added.

The shooting sparked criticism from some immigrant activists because the officials – two from Customs and Border Protection and one from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – fired in thick afternoon traffic. The American Friends Service Committee said the use of force was excessive.

Rooney said no evidence suggests anyone in the vans was armed.

Officials at CBP and ICE declined to comment on whether the shooting was justified. A CBP statement said only that one driver “posed a threat and attempted to flee.”

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said in a statement that it was concerned about the incident and was trying to assist the Mexican passengers…