Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mexican teen dies after border incident

Sierra Vista Herald
January 6, 2011
by Jonathan Clark

NOGALES — A Mexican teenager who died after a confrontation early Monday morning with Border Patrol agents in Nogales was killed by a gunshot, Sonoran officials say.

The Sonora State Investigative Police, or PEI, said 17-year-old Ramses Barron Torres, who died shortly after 3 a.m. Monday at a Nogales, Sonora, hospital, was shot in the back of the right arm, with the bullet continuing into his chest cavity, puncturing a lung, and lodging in the left side of his ribcage.

The Border Patrol has declined to comment on the incident, as has the FBI, whose investigators scoured the scene of the incident below the Hudgins Street turnaround on Wednesday morning. Nogales Police Chief Jeffrey Kirkham said one of his officers went to the scene, “but all he could get was the location and that it involved an agent and a UDA (undocumented alien).”

The PEI said it was notified at approximately 3:10 a.m. that a dead body had been dropped off in front of the emergency room at the Hospital General in Nogales, Sonora. Arriving at the hospital, officers found the body of Barron Torres, showing “bruises and abrasions on different parts of his body.”

A prosecutor ordered an immediate autopsy, which determined that the cause of death had been a gunshot wound, the PEI said.

An incident report from the Nogales, Sonora municipal police said that a security guard at the hospital reported seeing a cherry-colored Dodge Durango with Arizona license plates pull up to the hospital at around 3 a.m. Three men got out of the vehicle, pulled a fourth man out and laid him on the ground before speeding off, the report said.

However, the PEI statement said one of the men cried out for a stretcher, saying he had an injured person who needed attention. As emergency personnel searched for vital signs, the three passengers told them that Barron Torres had been climbing the border wall when a Border Patrol agent shot him once. He then fell onto a pile of gravel on the Mexican side of the fence, the men said.

Earlier on Wednesday, The Associated Press quoted Nogales, Sonora, city spokesman Alejandro Palacios as saying that Barron Torres died after he fell from the border fence and hit his head on a rock.

Palacios told the AP that Border Patrol agents fired warning shots in the air after the teen and other youths had illegally crossed the border and began throwing rocks at them. He said none of the youths were shot.

Reached by the Nogales International, Palacios declined to confirm that account and referred all questions to the PEI.

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