Man Shot After Attacking Border Patrol Agent With Machete

NBC San Diego

SAN DIEGO — In the latest example of surging violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, a border patrol agent opened fire on a suspect in East County after the man took a swing at him with a machete.

The unusual attack took place near Campo on Sunday afternoon, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. In recent months, agents have also reported being attacked with rocks and slingshots.

Sheriff’s detectives said the border patrol agent was alone on patrol in the mountains near Campo in an area where there is a campground known as a busy crossing for undocumented aliens. Officials said the agent

Investigators said the agent thought a Latino man in his ’30s he spotted might be trying to cross the border illegally. According to the agent, the suspect was hiding, and when he confronted him, the man came at him with a machete with a 22-inch blade.

“Our agent drew his weapon and he fired at least two rounds, and the individual was struck twice,” said Border Patrol spokesman Richad Kite. “And the individual was struck twice.”

A sheriff’s spokesman said the agent shot the man twice in the upper body.

The attack is the latest example of what the Border Patrol says is a dramatic spike in violence against federal officers.

“Our agents have been shot at,” said Kite. “Our agents have been hit — football-size rocks, slingshots, Molotov cocktails.”

Immigrant-rights activist Enrique Morones told NBC 7/39 that people trying to cross the border are warned to stop.

“If a Border Patrol agent tells you to stop, you stop,” said Morones. “You should not be carrying any weapons.”

Morones also blames the violence, however, on what he calls the increased militarization of the border.

With almost daily attacks against their agents, Border Patrol officials told NBC 7/39 that violence begets violence.

“Our agents go to great lengths to attempt to de-escalate these situations,” Kite told NBC 7/39. “Unfortunately, often times, the people we encounter, they don’t give us the opportunity to de-escalate. They force us into using deadly force.”

Last fiscal year, there were 11 officer-involved shootings by Border Patrol agents. The agency said that is a small number, considering that agents have been attacked hundreds of times.

The suspect was taken by helicopter to the hospital, where he is in intensive care. The man’s identity not yet been released.

The Border Patrol agent was not injured in the incident. Sheriff’s detectives said the agent has been placed on temporary administrative leave.

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