"Reasonable Use of Force" Against Teen Cited in Deadly Border Shooting

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POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 2:40pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 2:42pm

The case involving the shooting death of a 15-year-old Mexican national on the United States-Mexico border was closed without the pursuance of federal homicide charges against the CBP agent who shot him. 

The shooting occured on June 7, 2010, when smugglers attempting an illegal border crossing threw rocks at a CBP agent while he was trying to detain a suspect within a spillway of the Rio Grande river along the border. The CBP agent fired at the smugglers, striking and killing Sergio Hernandez Guereca, 15.   

After a thorough investigation of evidence, surveillance video, radio traffic, 911 recordings and multiple interviews with witnesses, the Justice Department ruled there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges and closed the case. 

Investigators indicated that the agent’s actions constituted a reasonable use of force or would constitute an act of self defense in response to the threat created by a group of smugglers hurling rocks at the agent and his detainee. The investigation also revealed that, on these particular facts, the agent did not act inconsistently with CBP policy or training regarding use of force. Based on a careful review and analysis of all the evidence, the team concluded that evidence would not be sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the CBP agent violated the federal homicide laws in the shooting of Hernandez-Guereca.

The Justice Department also concluded that no federal civil rights charges could be pursued in this matter.  

 

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