Border Patrol shot youth in back, autopsy confirms

José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, a 16-year-old Mexican shot dead by US Border Patrol agents at the Mexico-US border near Nogales, Arizona, the night of Oct. 10, 2012, was hit by at least eight bullets and maybe as many as 11, according to an autopsy report made available to reporters on Feb. 7. The report, prepared by doctors for the Sonora State Attorney General’s Office, found that at least seven of the bullets hit the unarmed teenager in the back. The shooting came a week after an Oct. 2 incident in which a Border Patrol agent was shot dead by other agents in the dark near the border in Cochise County, Arizona.

The Border Patrol agents initially claimed that Rodríguez had been on the border fence and had thrown stones at them. They said they fired in self-defense. “No, the youth was definitely not on the wall when he received the impacts,” Luis Parra, the family’s lawyer, told reporters. “The youth was on a sidewalk on the Mexican side.” The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is in charge of investigating Border Patrol shooting, has remained silent on the case. FBI spokesperson Jennifer Giannola wouldn’t tell a reporter for the Associated Press wire service when the investigation would be completed. “Although we are cognizant of time, it is imperative to conduct a thorough investigation,” she wrote in an email.

In October Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) called the killing a “serious bilateral problem,” but it is unclear what the Mexican government has done in response to the killing of an unarmed Mexican minor in Mexico by US agents. (AP, Feb. 7, via Huffington Post; Univision, Feb. 8)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 10.