Created: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 08:33:00 PST
Updated: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:35:11 PST
A man trying to cross the border illegally early Tuesday morning was shot and killed by a border patrol agent. The agent said he was in fear for his life after the man threw a rock at him, which hit him in the face.
The shooting happened in rugged terrain along the Otay Mountain Truck Route. Two agents were trying to apprehend three undocumented immigrants crossing the border. "While the two agents were out of sight of each other, we understand they were about a quarter mile away from each other, one of the agents was struck in the face by a rock that was thrown by one of these suspected illegal aliens," said Lt. Glenn Giannantonio of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Lt. Giannantonio said the agent feared for his safety, so he shot the man. The man died at the scene. Two other men with him were arrested. The border patrol agent's injuries were minor.
"The feelings I had was that yet again another case where an agent resonds to rock throwing with bullets," said Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee. But Rios told San Diego 6 that was just his gut reaction. "We don't have many of the details insofar as what happened. We don't know if the agent had an opportunity to use non-lethal force to subdue the individual. So, we're hoping with the investigation those questions will be answered," Rios said.
Rios told San Diego 6 his experience working with immigrants shows that some are treated well by the border patrol, others not. "Some immigrants will say that they were treated fairly, that they were apprehended, they were not yelled at, they were not mistreated. They were eventually deported. In other cases, there are complaints of mistreatment."
Which Rios said is why it's important to wait for the results of the investigation. It's not known when that might be completed.