By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Police said the bullet flew through the window, then through an interior wall before hitting a picture frame and stopping.
El Paso, Texas - Several gunshots apparently fired from Juárez hit El Paso City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.
No one was hurt, but nerves were rattled at City Hall in what is thought to be the first cross-border gunfire during a drug war that has engulfed Juárez since 2008.
El Paso police spokesman Darrel Petry said investigators do not think City Hall was intentionally targeted but rather was struck by stray shots.
"It does appear the rounds may have come from an incident in Juárez," Petry said.
City Hall, whose east and west sides are covered by glass windows, sits on a hill about a half-mile north of the Rio Grande.
About 4:50 p.m., city workers were going about a regular day when a bullet penetrated a ninth-floor west side window of the office of Assistant City Manager Pat Adauto.
The building was not evacuated, but several secretaries with windows facing Juárez described the incident as scary. Several police officers were sent to City Hall. A police crime scene investigator could be seen taking photos of the building.
Petry said an inspection by police and city staff found that City Hall was hit by seven gunshots, which appeared to be losing velocity when they struck. Six of the rounds hit stucco walls on the north and south sides of the building. Two bullets were recovered -- the one that went through the window and one that bounced off an exterior wall. The size of the bullets was not disclosed.
"Any time somebody takes a shot at City Hall, it's of great concern to us," El Paso Mayor John Cook said. "It's OK if people take political shots at us, but this is unacceptable."
Police said that an investigation into the shooting continues and that they would be contacting authorities in Juárez.
El Paso police said the time the gunshots hit City Hall coincides with a shooting in west Juárez on Bernardo Norzagaray boulevard, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande.
Authorities said a Mexican federal police officer was killed during an attack by gunmen near a Smart supermarket on Norzagaray boulevard.
Chihuahua state police identified the dead man as Domingo Hernández Espinoza and said that two other people were wounded. Investigators found 40 bullet casings from an AK-47 and other firearms.
A Mexican federal police Blackhawk helicopter and a smaller helicopter were flying in circles over west Juárez after that shooting. A Border Patrol helicopter was later flying on the U.S. side.
More than 1,300 people have been murdered in Juárez this year as a war continues relentlessly between the Juárez and Sinaloa drug cartels.
Daytime shootings, grisly mutilations and ambushes of police have become common.
Attacks on government leaders in Mexico have also increased.
But Tuesday's shooting was thought to be the first time that bullets shot in Juárez hit El Paso during the current violence, Petry said. The last time bullets fired in Juárez landed in El Paso was probably celebratory gunfire during New Year's Day in 2000, he said.
Similar cross-border shootings have occurred in other cities. Last September, the University of Texas at Brownsville was closed for a weekend after a building and a parked car on campus were hit by bullets fired during a shootout across the border in Matamoros, Mexico.