Border shootings spur investigation as CBP prepares enhanced safety measures

Border Report Tour

In this April 22, 2020, file photo a residential neighborhood of Juarez, Mexico, and U.S. Border Patrol vehicles on both sides of a border fence as seen from El Paso Texas. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The U.S. Border Patrol and the Mexican government continue to investigate several instances in which individuals in Mexico shot at agents on the U.S. side.

Four times this month, border agents in Texas and California found themselves running for cover as bullets flew in their direction. Officials report no injuries.

“U.S. Border Patrol agents continue their unwavering commitment to provide border and national security to the American public despite recent attacks against them along our Southwest border,” U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We take these threats and acts of violence seriously and will do everything we can to identify and bring those to justice who have sought to harm the men and women of the Border Patrol.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it takes threats and assaults against its agents seriously and that the Border Patrol is collaborating with Mexican law enforcement regarding the recent shootings. The incidents are under investigation.

Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, CBP officials said. The most recent incident happened Monday near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego.

On Aug. 9, in the same general area, a border agent was shot at after apprehending several migrants, who also sought cover.

“Could be intimidation or actually trying to engage agents,” Border Patrol Agent Juan Torres told Border Report on Monday in San Diego. “As they were walking the migrants back to their vehicle, they heard gunshots aimed at their direction, the agents immediately told migrants to take cover, agents took cover themselves.”

In the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 9, a border agent from the El Paso Sector in Texas took cover behind his vehicle after hearing gunshots. CBP said the individuals fired five rounds from Mexico toward the agent near what is known as the Border Highway in El Paso. None of the bullets struck the agent or his vehicle.

In the early hours of Aug. 6, some individuals fired 20 shots at another border agent from the Ysleta Station. The agent also took cover and was not hit by the shots.

While Border Patrol agents are “well trained, equipped and remain vigilant,” CBP said it is considering enhancing security measures in select locations.

A CBP spokesman told Border Report the agency could not provide more information on the enhanced security measures due to operational sensitivities.

CBP said the recent attacks are “a reminder that criminals will stop at nothing to further their illegal activities,” adding that criminals are heavily involved in human smuggling people, as well as smuggling weapons, cash, and drugs into the U.S.

“Border Patrol agents too often face life-threatening confrontations as they secure America’s borders. In many cases, agents find themselves in remote locations where they are significantly outnumbered and do not have immediate backup,” CBP said. “U.S. Border Patrol has protocols in place to protect the safety of agents and the public while conducting operations to enforce the nation’s laws.

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