A Mexican teenager was reportedly shot dead late Wednesday night by a member of the US Border Patrol as agents investigated suspected drug smuggling activity in Nogales, Arizona.
The Associated Press reports that the deadly incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday after Border Patrol agents witnessed a pair of suspected drug smugglers abandon a load of narcotics and flee back into Mexico.
When the agents approached the border to investigate, people on the Mexican side allegedly began throwing rocks at them. The agents claim they ordered the rock-throwers to stop but they didn't, and one of the agents opened fire on the crowd.
A Mexican official told the AP that 16-year-old José Anotnio Elena Rodríguez from Nogales, Sonora was shot and killed. But it has not been definitively confirmed that the Border Patrol agent was responsible for the boy's death. According to Fox News Latino, the Sonora state attorney general's office released a statement saying Rodríguez was found dead at the border from gunshot wounds around midnight and that police had received reports of gunshots before finding his body on a sidewalk near the border.
The US Border Patrol released a statement of its own saying that the boy "appeared to have been" shot by one of its agents.
The Mexican government "forcefully condemned" the incident in a statement.
"The disproportionate use of lethal force during immigration control actions is unacceptable under any circumstances. The repeated nature of this type of cases has drawn a reaction of rejection from Mexican society and all of the country's political forces," the statement partially read.
A number of Mexicans have been killed by US Border Patrol agents in recent years.
In 2010, 32-year-old Anastasio Hernandez was beaten and Tasered to death while handcuffed on the ground at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego. The San Diego Medical Examiner's Office ruled Hernandez's death a homicide.
Just two weeks later, a US Border Patrol agent shot and killed 15-year-old Sergio Hernandez during a rock-throwing incident near the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico border.
In March, 2011, 19-year-old marijuana smuggler Carlos la Madrid was fatally shot four times in the back and shoulder while attempting to climb over the border wall into Mexico. Rocks were being thrown at the agents from the Mexican side of the border.
On July 9, 2012, 30-year-old Juan Pablo Perez Santillan was shot and killed by a US Border Patrol agent in Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande River from Brownsville, Texas. Again, rock throwing was cited.
Last month, a Border Patrol agent riding in a boat on the Rio Grande near Laredo, Texas shot and killed 36-year-old Guillermo Arévalo Pedroza, who, he claimed, was throwing rocks. The victim's family says he was at a park grilling fajitas.
On October 2, a plain-clothed Border Patrol agent shot and killed 32-year-old Valeria Alvarado, a mother of five, after she allegedly struck him with her car and continued driving with him on the hood.
Two Border Patrol agents have also been killed since 2010.
In December 2010, agent Brian Terry, 40, was killed in a shootout with Mexican gunmen. The weapon used to kill Terry was traced to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sting operation known as 'Fast and Furious,' in which US guns were allowed into the hands of Mexican drug gangs in order to track them to cartel kingpins.
And earlier this month, 30-year-old Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie was shot and killed, most likely by "friendly fire," while investigating a tripped sensor along a well-known border smuggling corridor near Naco, Arizona.