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3 Arrested In Border Patrol Shooting, Including Suspected Rock Thrower

A U.S. Border Patrol agent is on administrative leave after he fired at a man the agency says threw rocks at him, Tuesday. This is the fourth agent-involved shooting in Arizona since October. 

The Border Patrol gave more details Wednesday about the agent related shooting. The alleged assailant was an 18-year-old man from Honduras who’d been previously deported. Officials say an agent fired on him twice after he threw rocks during a chase.

"The suspect stopped, picked up some rocks and began throwing them at the agent while making verbal threats," said Paul Beeson, chief of the Tucson Sector.

The suspect and two others were taken into custody along with about 240 pounds of marijuana. 

According to the agency’s own records, this is the fourth agent-involved shooting in its Tucson Sector this fiscal year and at least the sixth nationwide.

The agency’s press conference Wednesday came after a series of findings where review boards expressed concern with agents firing on rock throwers. In 2014, the agency released a use-of-force policy that states agents can use deadly force if they believe they’re at risk.

Beeson did not defend the agent, but said:

"We expect our agents to utilize safe tactics and in doing so, they reserve the right to protect themselves consistent with our use of force policy."

Beeson would not reveal how large the rocks were being hurled at the agent. He said that’s part of the ongoing investigation.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.