Immigrant shot after ambush on agent

March 26, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

SKULL VALLEY — A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot a suspected undocumented immigrant in the stomach Sunday after being stoned by a group of people in a remote area in the mountains west of Ocotillo.

Around 5 p.m. Sunday, a Border Patrol helicopter spotted a group of suspected undocumented immigrants in the area, said Border Patrol spokesman Manny Figueroa.

The pilot picked up a nearby agent and took him to the area, which is just north of the border and inaccessible by vehicles, Figueroa said.

While walking south on the trail and looking at footprints along the path, the male agent was apparently ambushed by four or five people throwing rocks at him from above him, Figueroa said.


Figueroa said the people had apparently seen the agent being dropped off and hid as he approached before throwing rocks at him.

The agent, acting in self-defense, fired rounds at the group, hitting one man in the stomach as the rest ran toward Mexico, Figueroa said.

The Border Patrol helicopter transported the gunshot victim to the road, where he was transported on the ground to El Centro Regional Medical Center for treatment, Figueroa said.

Figueroa did not have the victim's name but said he underwent successful surgery and Border Patrol agents are standing by waiting for his release.

The name of the agent, who was uninjured, could not be released, Figueroa said.

Figueroa did not know how many rounds were fired but said the incident is under investigation and the FBI is involved.

Border Patrol agents stayed at the scene through Sunday night to protect the site and FBI agents were investigating the scene this morning, Figueroa said.

Mexican law enforcement and consulate officials were notified of the incident are looking for information on that side of the border, Figueroa said.

While being stoned from a distance is nothing new to Border Patrol agents, an ambush is rare, Figueroa said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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