On July 22, 2014, the Edinburg, Texas Police Department (EPD), in concert with numerous other law enforcement agencies, located Joaquin Tomas Cibrian, a known violent felon wanted for capital murder by the EPD, at a private residence in La Joya, Texas. When law enforcement officers attempted to arrest Cibrian, he shot and seriously wounded two officers and barricaded himself in the residence. The EPD requested assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol. Several Border Patrol agents responded to the scene.
From inside the residence through a north side window, Cibrian fired approximately fifteen bullets at the windshield of a law enforcement armored vehicle. He then exited the residence through a door on the east side. A Border Patrol agent witnessed the individual exit the residence carrying an assault rifle, and wearing a dark colored tactical vest with multiple magazine pouches.
The Border Patrol Agent then witnessed the individual move in a crouched tactical manner in the direction of officers who were positioned by a residence, north of the residence. As Cibrian moved in the direction of officers, he raised his assault rifle and fired at them. The officers then returned fire. A Border Patrol agent who witnessed Cibrian fire at the officers also fired until Cibrian no longer posed an imminent threat of death to the officers. In total, ten law enforcement officials including the Border Patrol agent fired their firearms. Cibrian was struck multiple times, and died at the scene.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office processed the scene recovering approximately 250 casings. In addition to the assault rifle Cibrian was firing, a loaded .40 caliber pistol was recovered near his body, and a loaded Smith and Wesson .22 caliber rifle was located in the residence he had exited.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation of the incident.
Result of the UFRB
On June 23, 2015, the CBP national Use of Force Review Board, representing senior officials from across CBP as well as officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, convened to review the facts as investigated. The UFRB determined that the application of deadly force by the agent July 22, 2014, was in compliance with CBP’s Use of Force Policy.
Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the UFRB also made operational observations and policy recommendations that have been referred to appropriate operational and policy officials within CBP for consideration.