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State media: 1 killed in border shooting

State media: 1 killed in border shooting
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Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 10:16pm

One person was killed in a shooting involving Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border, Mexican state media reported Thursday.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed an adolescent who had been throwing rocks alongside several others at the border, the state-run Notimex news agency said, citing anonymous sources.

In a statement released earlier Thursday, the U.S. Border Patrol confirmed the Wednesday night shooting, but did not say whether anyone had been killed.

Citing preliminary reports, the Border Patrol said agents saw smugglers drop drugs on the U.S. side of the border in Nogales, Arizona, then return to Mexico.

"Subjects at the scene then began assaulting the agents with rocks," the Border Patrol said in a written statement.

"After verbal commands from agents to cease were ignored, one agent then discharged his service firearm," the Border Patrol said. "One of the subjects appeared to have been hit."

The FBI is investigating the shooting, the Border Patrol said.

Mexico's government condemned the violence and called for a swift investigation, Notimex said.

"Preliminary information available at this moment once again generates serious doubts about the use of lethal force by Border Patrol agents, which the Mexican government and Mexican society strongly condemn and deplore," Mexico's foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday night, according to Notimex.

In response to similar shootings in September and July, Mexico's foreign ministry has criticized what it said was "disproportionate use of lethal force" at the border.

In 2010, the FBI investigated after a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a Mexican teen along the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Federal officials closed the case in April, saying there was not enough evidence to pursue charges against the officer and that he acted within the agency's policies for use of force.

The officer received widespread condemnation from critics who questioned his use of deadly force against 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who authorities said had been throwing rocks at the agent when he was shot and killed.

Hernandez had a history of involvement with human smuggling and was on a list of repeat juvenile offenders, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mark Qualia said after the shooting.

An appeal is pending in a lawsuit filed by the teen's parents in U.S. federal court, accusing the officer of using excessive force. The Mexican government filed a friend of the court brief in the case, noting that its request to extradite the Border Patrol agent for prosecution had been denied.

"As a matter of international responsibility, the fact that the victim was on Mexican soil when he was killed does not absolve the United States of responsibility for the acts of its agent," the brief said.

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