Danger in the line of duty: two BP agent involved shootings in two weeks

Two Border Patrol agent-involved shootings in just 18 days, both in the Laredo sector, have raised questions.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 11:34 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Those in the line of duty don’t have an easy job, and those working with the U.S. Border Patrol know the risks as well as any other that include shootings, serious injuries, and even death.

Two Border Patrol agent-involved shootings in just 18 days, both in the Laredo sector, have raised questions.

This type of incident is actually considered rare, yet a loss of life and a couple hospitalizations were the result of these unfortunate scenarios.

“It was really loud. It sounded like fireworks.”

That’s what one man who lives near Green Street and Smith Street witnessed on the night of October 23rd.

In a previous interview with KGNS, he says he heard a series of shots fired in this area which is near the Rio Grande River. He says he sees border crossers every day.

As it turns out, that night resulted in the fatality of a suspected human smuggler and sent one Border Patrol agent to the hospital.

According to a CBP statement, the agent used lethal force after the driver would not respond to verbal commands.

There was another incident on November 10.

“Our agents were assaulted by an illegal alien that was going to be placed under arrest," said Hector Garza, the president of the National Border Council, which lgeally represents agents in these situations. "At some point during the scuffle, the illegal alien took the taser from the agent and tried to use it against our agent. Unfortunately, our agent had to use force. Luckily, the subject did not die in this incident, so we’re grateful for that.”

That’s two Border Patrol agent-involved shootings in the Laredo sector in less than three weeks.

According to CBP statistics, there were zero of these incidents in fiscal year 2020- that’s last October through this past September- and zero in 2019, two in 2018, zero in 2017, and one in 2016.

So why are there already two just one month into the new fiscal year?

“That means things on the border are getting more and more dangerous," Garza said. "That means people are becoming more desperate as they cross the border illegally, and our agents are engaging in more dangerous situations as they do their jobs on a daily basis.”

Border Patrol agents undergo use of force training where they learn de-escalation tactics or methods to reduce the chance of a fatality while also successfully addressing the situation.

“Less lethal use of force” is an option when agents believe it is necessary that includes the use of tasers, batons and pepper spray.

There were 14 of these incidents in the Laredo sector from October of last year through this past September.

“Having an unsecure border is what causes this type of crime and misery along the border,” Garza said.

He is a vocal advocate of a border wall.

Right now, CBP has a contract to build at least 70 miles in Laredo.

Garza says as far as he is concerned, construction will begin in January regardless of the induction of a new president.

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