Police: 1 dead after Border Patrol agent in Arizona fires at rock-throwers in Mexico

NOGALES, AZ - One person is dead after a Border Patrol agent shot him for throwing large rocks at authorities during a police situation along the border fence, according to police Thursday.

The unidentified male started throwing rocks over the border fence from Mexico as Border Patrol agents were trying to apprehend two men on the US side of the border, according to Lt. Carlos Jimenez, a spokesperson for the Nogales, AZ Police Department.

The two suspects were trying to climb over the fence into Mexico after dropping bundles of marijuana in Arizona, Jimenez said.

Jimenez told the ABC15 Investigators Nogales Police Department dispatchers received a call around 11pm Wednesday about a pair of suspicious males on W. International St. near the border.

When two Nogales, AZ police officers responded, Jimenez said, they located the two males who abandoned two large bags of drugs before running into a residential area.

Eventually, he said, the two males started climbing the border fence.

Border Patrol agents and police officers from the Nogales Police Department tried to coax the men down from the fence, but they continued to climb.

The police officers also called the Nogales, Mexico police to help with the situation, said Jimenez.

Meanwhile, as many as four other people on the Mexico side of the border started launching heavy rocks at officers on the US side of the border, according to Jimenez.

Jimenez said some of the rocks may have been as large as baseballs, and they can do serious damage to Border Patrol vehicles. 

Eventually, police said a Border Patrol agent fired a shot at a rock-thrower, killing him.

"The agent - I feel he probably felt that his life was at risk or somebody else," said Jimenez.

Jimenez said he remembered a time within the last few years, when another person was shot by a border agent for throwing rocks.

The two men who climbed over the border fence got away from police.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department issued a statement later saying it "forcefully condemned" the shooting and calling such deaths "a serious bilateral problem."

"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 department said it had asked U.S. authorities for a "exhaustive, transparent and timely investigation" of the shooting.

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