Jim Kouri
September 26, 2015
U.S. Border Patrol agent indicted for alleged murder of Mexican teen
By Jim Kouri

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted an American Border Patrol agent for the shooting of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Rodriguez during an incident at the border separating the state of Arizona from Mexico in October 2012. The shooting further polarized the public, with illegal immigrants and their supporters on one side while pro-police and anti-amnesty supporters on the other side of the explosive border security issue.

Those applauding the case being brought before a federal grand jury, cheered when they heard former agent Lonnie Swartz would stand trial for his killing the Mexican teenager. The results of the current indictment are a far cry from what occurred in a similar case in which a 15-year-old named Hernandez Guereca was shot across the border and killed. In that case, a three-judge panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals originally said Hernandez Guereca's family could sue the city of Mesa, Arizona, but the full court overturned the June 2010 ruling in April 2015.

The federal grand jury on Wednesday handed down an indictment against Border Patrol agent Swartz, charging him with second-degree murder. On Oct. 10, 2012, Swartz allegedly fired his service weapon through the border fence into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, killing Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. The teen's family has already filed a civil lawsuit, according to Homeland Security Newswire.

CBS News reported that Border Patrol officials said in 2014 that Swartz fired his handgun after being pelted with large rocks that were thrown over the fence as agents and police officers tried to stop two suspected drug smugglers. His family says the boy was walking home from a basketball game with friends and was not armed or throwing rocks. The medical examiner claimed at the time that teenager was shot a total of ten times.

"The CBS report and other statements in the media would have civilians believe there was excessive force, but that's not necessarily so," said former police training officer Manny Roccia. "Being struck in the head or other area by a rock thrown at about 50 or 60 miles per hour could seriously injure a cop or even kill him or her if it strikes a sensitive part of the head or body," Roccia said.

According to Swartz's defense team leader, Sean Chapman, the decorated agent will plead not guilty when he's arraigned on October 9. Chapman told news outlets that he expects the case will be tried in court. CBS News reporter Anna Werner without giving a source for her allegation, said there have been several similar cases involving shootings by Border Patrol agents. However, she failed to provide examples or neglected to describe the circumstances.

"The media seems to forget the cases of Border Patrol agents being killed by border crashers, such as the Fast and Furious scandal's Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and other agents killed in cold-blood. In fact, last week the federal government finally got around to trying two suspects in Agent Terry's murder," said former police detective and narcotics agent Melanie Porchost.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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