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Statement on Shooting Incident in Sumas, Washington

Release Date: 
March 20, 2015

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, at approximately 2:30 p.m. PST, U.S. Border Patrol agents on patrol responded to a sensor activation along the U.S.-Canadian border near Sumas, Washington. An individual was encountered and suspected of having illegally crossed the border. The subject failed to follow verbal requests and displayed erratic and threatening behavior toward two agents who responded.

The subject then assaulted one of the agents with an unknown spray who then discharged his service-issued weapon, fatally striking the individual. The agent was transported to the Sumas Station to be treated from the effects of the spray by Emergency Medical personnel. Investigators are determining the exact nature of the irritant contained in the spray.

Federal authorities including the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Internal Affairs are coordinating the investigation with cooperation from CBP’s Border Patrol and the Law Enforcement Multi-Agency Response Team (LEMART) of Whatcom County.

As standard policy, agents involved in the incident are currently on administrative leave. The time in service range of the agents involved in the incident is between 10 and 19.5 years.

A shooting is a very traumatic event for any law enforcement officer, taking another human’s life is the last thing that we want to do. Our agents are dealing with the emotional aftermath of such an event.

Dan M. Harris, Jr.
Blaine Sector Chief Patrol Agent
Office of Border Patrol
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017