March 28, 2011
by Tim Gaynor
A man shot and killed by the U.S. Border Patrol in southern Arizona last week was attempting to scale the border fence and cross into Mexico, a sheriff's department spokeswoman said on Monday.
Cochise County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carol Capas said an agent shot 19-year-old U.S. citizen Carlos La Madrid on March 21 as he attempted to climb the border fence in the city of Douglas, in southern Arizona, and cross into Mexico.
The incident began after La Madrid had fled south toward the border fence in a pickup truck carrying a 48-pound load of marijuana. He then attempted to cross into Mexico using a ladder placed against the north side of the fence.
"He did get out of the vehicle and was climbing the ladder at the time the shots were fired ... He was struck three times and grazed once," Capas told Reuters.
An initial report said the agent shot the driver of the vehicle after being pelted with rocks.
Capas said rocks were being thrown from the fence "by at least one subject" at the time of the shooting. although there was "no indication" that the assailant was La Madrid.
Mario Escalante, the U.S. Border Patrol's spokesman for the Tucson sector, declined to comment, saying the investigation was being conducted by the FBI.
FBI special agent Manuel Johnson, meanwhile, said he could not comment on the Cochise County Sheriff's Office statements, as "our investigation remains ongoing."