Border Patrol Agent Cleared by AZ Investigation in Shooting of Migrant

by BOB PRICE 12 May 2022

A Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent will not face state charges in connection to the shooting death of a migrant who attempted to throw a large rock at the agent while attempting to flee. Investigators in Cochise County, Arizona, said the shooting was “justified.”

A Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent shot and killed 32-year-old Carmelo Cruz-Marcos during an incident where a group of migrants attempted to avoid apprehension by fleeing in a rugged area near the Arizona-Mexico border on February 19, the Tucson Sentinel reported. The agent told investigators that Cruz-Marcos assaulted him as he tried to make an arrest. Because the agent is not facing criminal charges, Breitbart News will not be disclosing his identity.

In February, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told Breitbart Texas two Border Patrol agents were tracking a group of migrants after being alerted by a sensor in the Skeleton Canyon area. The agents tracked the migrant group on foot during the darkness of night due to the rugged terrain. As the agents approached the group, the migrants scattered. One of the agents pursued a migrant who fled downhill. The other agent pursued the migrants that moved up the hill, Sheriff Dannels reported at the time.

The agent and the downhill fleeing migrant tripped and fell several times while running in the darkness. The agent eventually caught up with the migrant and attempted to make an arrest.

The agents said the migrant struck him with his fist. The fist struck the agent’s shoulder and traveled up to his cheek. The agent tackled the migrant who went face down with his hands concealed under his body. The migrant would not reveal his hands, the statement continues.

The migrant then threw his elbow back, striking the agent. This allowed the migrant to stand up. He then ran about six feet and then picked up a large rock. He turned toward the agent and made a throwing motion with the hand holding the rock.

Fearing for his life and safety, the agent discharged his firearm multiple times, striking and killing the migrant, the sheriff’s statement reports. The second agent arrived a short time later.

More details of the shooting came out this week when the Tucson Sentinel reported that following an initial assault by Cruz-Marcos, the migrant picked up a rock and cocked his arm to throw it. The agent fired four shot — two sticking the migrant’s face, two striking his chest. While there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, the other agent and the other migrants could hear the struggle prior to the shooting.

Investigators in Cochise County determined the shooting was justified.

“After review of all the available evidence, [the agent’s] actions appear to be justified under Arizona law,” said Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre. The county attorney said the use of deadly force by a peace officer against another is justified, “only when the peace officer reasonably believes that it is necessary” to defend himself or a third person from what they reasonably believes is the “imminent use of deadly physical force,” the Tucson Sentinel reported.

He added that, under Arizona law, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the self-defense conduct was not justified.
“There is insufficient evidence contradicting the agent’s explanation of the events in question to meet this high burden,” McIntyre stated. “Indeed, the evidence appears to support the agent’s version of events.” He said the agent’s statement that “he only fired after Carmelo picked up a large rock and appeared to be ready to strike him with it is not contradicted by any physical evidence at the scene.”

While the agent has been cleared by Arizona prosecutors and investigators, he is still subject to federal investigations from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the Homeland Security Investigations’ Office of Inspector General, and the National Use of Force Review Board established under the Obama administration.

Read more at the Tucson Sentinel.

Reports reviewed by Breitbart Texas show assaults on Border Patrol agents are on the rise during Fiscal Year 2022, which began on October 1, 2021. Since the start of the year, 273 agents were in 195 incidents. During the same period last year, 191 agents were in 147 incidents.

Agents were involved in Use of Force incidents 365 times this fiscal year to date compared to 264 during the same period in FY21. The use of using a firearm accounts for only six times this year and 14 times for all of FY21. In contrast, Border agents were assaulted by a subject using a firearm eight times this year and six times in FY21.

Border Patrol Agent Cleared by AZ Investigation in Shooting of Migrant (