NBC News reports that an American man was killed in a gunfight with United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the California-Mexico border — at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The 23-year-old white male — who has yet to be identified — allegedly fired at officers, and refused to stop his vehicle, when entering the U.S. from Mexico.
“It was bullet after bullet after bullet after bullet — it was scary, and we just, I mean, we kind of freaked out,” witness Gabriella Berragan told NBC San Diego.
Berragan says that the scene of the incident was “madness,” punctuated by officers yelling at people “to duck, to hide.”
“It was very terrifying because of the simple fact that we didn’t know where the bullets were coming from. We just saw them coming. My first instinct as a mom was to jump back and be with my kids.”
An official statement from the San Diego Police Department claims that the suspect was driving a white pickup truck, one which he drove through the inspection area without permission. After another vehicle blocked him, the suspect allegedly began the rampage that ended in his death.
“The suspect began firing a gun out of his vehicle towards the officers, then exited his vehicle and continued firing at the officers. The officers returned fire, striking the suspect.”
American Killed In Shootout With Border Patrol Agents https://t.co/CLKhhxBTJv
— News 93.1 KFBK (@kfbk) June 4, 2019
U.S. citizen Zooch Williams said that he heard the gunfire from the Mexican side of the border — where he was waiting to cross into his home country. After hearing “popping” sounds, he and his friend realized that they weren’t fireworks — they were gunshots. Williams said that this is when they saw CBP agents chasing the suspect.
Back in May, the Border Patrol was again in the news. At that time, a CBP agent was charged with striking a migrant with their vehicle, at the border, and lying about it. Slate reports that a federal grand jury indicted Nogales Border Patrol Agent Matthew Bowen in May of 2018 for the crime, one which took place in December of 2017.
But the reason Bowen made it into the news in May was because of unearthed text messages dispatched between him and another agent. In these texts, Bowen allegedly described Central American migrants as “savages,” and as “subhuman.” The text messages were sent to border agent Lonnie Ray Swartz, who — at the time of receiving the texts — was facing murder and manslaughter charges. Swartz was facing said charges for having allegedly fired through the border fence in Nogales in 2012, reportedly striking 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez.