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Border Patrol Agent Indicted in Fatal Shooting of Mexican Teen

September 25, 2015  | 

A Border Patrol agent has for the first time been indicted on a murder charge after shooting and killing a Mexican national through the border fence, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The border Arizona shares with Sonora, Mexico, is a hot spot for getting “rocked,” which is Border Patrol shorthand for pieces of concrete that are thrown at agents over the fence. The Border Patrol’s policy is to treat such rock-throwing as a threat to agents’ lives, and they are permitted to respond with lethal force.

On Oct. 10, 2012, Agent Lonnie Swartz fired at least 10 rounds through the border fence into Nogales, officials said. At least eight rounds struck Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, who bled to death.

It is common for agents to shoot through the border fence, and they usually avoid discipline in such cases.

But on Wednesday night, a grand jury handed up an indictment of second-degree murder. “Lonnie Ray Swartz, did with malice aforethought, and while armed with a P2000 semiautomatic pistol, kill” Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, the panel’s presiding juror wrote.

Border Patrol union representatives have resisted scrutiny of agents’ actions in similar cases, saying that such analysis would force agents to waste valuable seconds considering their response rather than acting to protect themselves or their fellow agents.

The National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents agents, said it would mount a vigorous defense of Swartz.

“It is unfortunate that after three years and after being investigated by multiple local, state and federal agencies and then returned to the field to work, Agent Lonnie Swartz is now facing criminal charges,” the union said in a message posted on its website.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

oldVa lawdog @ 9/25/2015 3:21 PM

Just once, and once is all it would take for some politician while touring the border to take a "piece of concrete, rock, etc.," off the side of the head. Then maybe clowns on some of the juries would really understand what it's like to deal with this BS day in and day out.

OK @ 9/26/2015 10:54 AM

Is there more to this story? If it is company policy to respond to these incidents w/ lethal force how did it ever come before a grand jury?

Mgustafson @ 9/26/2015 11:21 AM

How did this case come to be brought to trial if this is a semi regular occurrence and after being cleared by different agencies at all levels?

Robert Powell @ 9/26/2015 3:48 PM

Here we go get ready for liberal media

S.S. @ 9/29/2015 8:26 AM

I live and work right along the border with Mexico. I don't agree with the indictment. I definately don't agree that the b.p. agent should be indicted. These kids or adults know that a rock can be used as a deadly weapon. If Mexico is so concerned about their citizens being killed by U.S. then they should do something to discourage these little shits about assaulting our own as well.

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