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Border Patrol Agent Shoots U.S. Citizen Point Blank

Updated: Apr 14

On March 14, 2023, the U.S. Border Patrol pursued a vehicle that agents suspected of smuggling undocumented persons. When the pursuit came to a stop, one agent jumped from his service truck, put his gun to the driver's head and pulled the trigger killing him instantly. The following are my professional observations as a former Senior Patrol Training Agent and Acting Supervisory Border Patrol Agent.

As noted in the Border Patrol's press release, the agency claims that a remote camera operator "observed multiple suspected undocumented migrants load into a BMW sedan" near the Sasabe, AZ port of entry at approximately 6:18 p.m. Sixteen minutes later, two agents saw a BMW sedan and attempted to stop it on State Route 286 near mile marker 12. Seven minutes after initiating the pursuit the driver stopped on a dirt road and became stuck with heavy brush in front of him and Border Patrol service vehicles behind him.

The lead agent in the pursuit was wearing a body camera. This video evidence was released April 13, 2023 a month after this incident occurred. The video evidence shows that the BMW was sandwiched in between the brush and the agent's truck. The agent is seen jumping from his truck, running up to the BMW and using his collapsible steel baton to break both the back window and the front driver's window. This is a common tactic Border Patrol agents use to intimidate and scare migrants and drivers.

The tactic of breaking out someone's windows is not one that Border Patrol policy or training condones. This tactic is only to be used during a rescue but is often taught in the field by reckless agents who enjoy creating fear in migrants. The unauthorized use of this tactic was used in the Tachiquin case in San Diego in 2012. Just as Ms. Tachiquin became frightened when her window was shattered and hit the gas, so did the driver of this BMW. And just like Ms. Tachiquin, who was also a U.S. citizen, the agent in this case used the fear that he created by busting out the windows to then escalate and justify his use of deadly force. Border Patrol agents often break out suspected smugglers' windows with their batons to escalate the use of force and to frighten people. It is a scare tactic and creates absolute terror in the people occupying the car as they have no idea if they are being shot at and often panic and hit the gas to escape the violence.

This is a violation of use of force and a violation of Border Patrol policy.

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