Border Patrol agents missed key moment in shooting death of illegal immigrant

Border Patrol missing key video in a migrant death case

J. Christian Adams, Associated Press


The death of a Mexican migrant, who crossed the Rio Grande and was shot by a Border Patrol agent after running out of bullets, could offer clues about the agency’s use of force that led to the death of 22-year-old illegal immigrant Oscar Grant in 2008.


WASHINGTON — Border Patrol agents missed a key moment in the shooting death of an illegal immigrant, who ran out of bullets, during a brief patrol near El Paso in 2008, according to a report by a government watchdog group.

Investigators believe that the agent had time to pull his weapon — which had jammed — without killing the man, who was about 20 feet away from the agent, when the agent opened fire. The Border Patrol is reviewing the report by the Government Accountability Office, which found that the agent would have had only four seconds to pull the weapon without shooting Grant, who was running toward the agent and had been “in close pursuit” of the agent.

“This investigation has highlighted how there are a number of gaps in Border Patrol’s use-of-force policy,” the report found.

The agent’s initial response to Grant had been “ineffective,” according to the report, which looked at the agency’s use of force since 2008. The shooting would ultimately cause the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was killed after he and other migrants ran away from a Border Patrol agent about 10 miles south of El Paso.

Grant had been a minor, but was wanted for petty crime. He was known to law enforcement because his name had appeared on warrants for the theft of appliances and other offenses.

The decision to take the man into custody was made by then-acting Border Patrol Chief Gordon Shanks and Grant’s cousin, who was on the ground by the agent at the time. Grant was transported to a local precinct and then transferred to the El Paso County Jail, where he remained until he was deported.

“The evidence indicates that Chief Shanks believed

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