Witness accounts at odds with U.S. Officials in Border Patrol shooting incident

Posted on June 9, 2010


Eyewitness accounts are at odds with an official U.S. characterization of the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez by a Border Patrol officer on Monday. El Paso FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons said the Border Patrol officer shot Hernandez, who had entered the U.S. illegally, after he and a group of Mexican teens surrounded the agent and threw rocks at him. But two witnesses to the incident told the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Casey that Hernandez was standing on the Mexican side of the border with his hands up and had not thrown rocks at the agent.

U.S. national Bobbie McDow said she watched the group of teenagers from the middle of the Santa Fe Bridge, which spans the border and has two security checkpoints at either side. The teens, who had no weapons or backpacks, were playing a “cat and mouse game” McDow told the Journal, by trying to make it to the U.S. side and back to Mexico without being caught.

McDow said that two Border Patrol agents saw the group and chased them—and that one of them, riding a bicycle, caught one of the suspects and pinned him down. She said that the same agent then fired shots into Mexico, where the other boys had run. McDow said one of the teens had thrown rocks at the agent, but that Hernandez hadn’t. McDow’s husband, Raul Flores, told the Journal that he’d seen Hernandez emerge from behind a pillar on the Mexican side of the border with his hands up before the agent shot him, first in the shoulder and then in the head.

“They had no justification,” Elias Jose Antonio González, a family friend of the Hernandez boy, told the Journal. “He was not a drug trafficker. He was the hope of this family.”

In the FBI’s account, the teens had surrounded the agent and continued to throw rocks at him after he told them to stop and retreat—and at that point, the feds say, he used his gun. Border Patrol agents in El Paso have faced 29 rock-throwing attacks since October, the agency told The El Paso Times. T.J. Bonner, head of an advocacy group for Border Patrol officers, told the paper that attacks in general on agents are on the rise. Since the agent was standing on U.S. soil when he killed Hernandez on the Mexican side of the border, figuring out jurisdiction in the case could be tricky. The FBI and Mexican authorities are investigating the incident.


Posted in: The Anti News