May 30, 2014, use of force incident near Green Valley, AZ
On the afternoon of May 30, 2014, two U.S. Border Patrol agents (BPAs) assigned to Nogales Sector were riding together in a service vehicle when they responded to reports of activity southwest of Green Valley, Arizona. Upon arriving at the scene, the two Border Patrol agents encountered a vehicle driven by a male subject. The two agents attempted to question the subject, but he quickly sped away. The agents attempted to stop the vehicle using lights and sirens, but the driver ignored the warnings and fled, entering an interstate highway. The pursuit took both vehicles in the direction of a retirement community, through residential and commercial streets. Another BPA in a vehicle joined the pursuit, assuming the role as the primary vehicle behind the subject, who began driving recklessly and who then exited a paved residential road and began driving on a golf course path, still pursued by the two Border Patrol vehicles. The subject drove off a vertical embankment, estimated to be between 15 and 20 feet deep, into a dry river bed. The subject’s vehicle became stuck, and the driver exited the vehicle and fled on foot. He stopped and turned around, then raised his right hand and made a shooting motion before turning to continue running. One BPA unholstered his service weapon, and he and his partner continued the pursuit on foot into a grove of pecan trees. The subject stopped and turned around again and raised both hands in a shooting stance with what appeared to be a handgun in his hand. One of the BPAs fired nine rounds at the subject. The subject dropped to the ground. One round struck the subject behind the left ear and he was immobile. The other agent radioed that the subject was down. Deputies and Detectives from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) arrived on scene and assumed control of the scene and the investigation. The PCSD processed the scene and conducted a comprehensive investigation of the incident. Emergency Medical Services were dispatched to the scene to assess the subject, who was subsequently pronounced deceased. PCSD subsequently seized the subject’s vehicle, in which they found 21 bales of marijuana totaling 504.2 pounds. CBP’s Use of Force Incident Team (UFIT) was not activated during this shooting incident as the UFIT was not a functioning component at the time.
Result of the NUFRB
On June 16, 2016, the CBP NUFRB convened to review the facts as investigated. The NUFRB unanimously determined that the application of force via the service weapon used by the agent on May 30, 2014 was in compliance with CBP’s Use of Force Policy in effect at the time of the incident. Consistent with the mandate to review and report on potential improvements to policy and training, the NUFRB also made one operational observation and three policy recommendations that have been referred to appropriate officials within CBP for consideration.