SAN DIEGO (AP) – A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and wounded a man as agents clashed with a group of rock-throwing assailants, marking the latest confrontation along a violent stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said last week.
Edgar Israel Ortega Chavez was shot Aug. 19 in his left buttock and was in stable condition, according to a spokesman for Hospital General in Tijuana who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
Ortega, 22, was found by Mexican authorities on a dirt bank above the spot where the border crosses the dry, concrete-lined Tijuana River basin, Tijuana police said in a news release.
San Diego police said the shooter was a 10-year Border Patrol veteran but did not release his name.
The Border Patrol said the agent feared getting struck by a rock, but the shooting drew swift criticism from Mexican authorities.
“This incident is of great concern to the government of Mexico,” said Remedios Gomez Arnau, the consul general in San Diego. “Under no circumstances would it be justified to shoot lethal or non-lethal objects to the Mexican side of the border.”
The shooting occurred in an area where the United States government’s border fence diverges from the legal boundary, leaving the border marked only by a yellow stripe painted across the concrete-lined riverbed.
There were conflicting accounts about what happened.
People who witnessed the shooting told The Associated Press that more than a dozen people gathered on Mexican soil to plan an illegal crossing to the United States, and threw rocks to distract agents. They said Border Patrol agents tried to disperse the crowd with pepper spray bullets.