A body, lies under the area known as "Puente Negro", below Paso del Norte international bridge, Juárez Downtown. (Special to the Times)
The 15-year-old boy shot dead by a Border Patrol agent at 6:30 PM Monday evening near the Paso del Norte bridge was part of a group that entered the United States illegally, agency administrators said today.
Special Operation Supervisor Ramiro Cordero said border patrol agents on bikes were assaulted Monday night by rock-throwing members of the group. He said members of the group entered the United States through a gap in the border fence.
They threw rocks at agents, Cordero said. Then one of the agents fired at the group.
The Border Patrol agent fired his gun several times, FBI officials said.
The agent shot at the group of Mexican nationals who had illegally crossed into the U.S. after they surrounded him and threw rocks at him, said Special Agent Andrea Simmons, spokeswoman for the FBI in El Paso
The agent who shot Huereca had a .40-caliber pistol on him. He may have had additional weapons, too, Cordero said.
"Every agent is issued a .40-caliber pistol and available to us is a series of long arms and that includes shotguns and machine guns, and on top of that pepper spray and tasers," he said.
Agents only have access to weapons that they have been trained to use and they go through training quarterly, Cordero said.
The Border Patrol did not identify the agent who fired. He has been placed on paid leave, Cordero said.
Chihuahua state officials said today that the boy shot dead was Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, a Mexican national. They asked for a full investigation of the shooting.
The Mexican Secretary of State today condemned the death. Mexican officials said they want the U.S. to conduct a full investigation into the events that prompted the shooting.
The use of firearms in response to a rock attack is a "disproportionate use of force," Mexican officials said.
The number of Mexican nationals who have been killed or injured by border agents has increased in the last few years from five in 2008 to 12 in 2009. There have been 17 Mexican nationals killed or injured during the first six months of 2010, officials said.