Border Patrol agents assaulted, suspect killed

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Border Patrol agents assaulted, suspect killed

CREATED Oct 11, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct 12, 2012

Reporter: Cory Marshall

Web Producer: Janice Yu, Mekita Rivas

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Nogales Police confirm one person is dead after Border Patrol agents were assaulted Wednesday night.

Officials with Border Patrol told KGUN9 agents responded to reports of drug smugglers near West International Street and Hereford Drive at approximately 11:30 p.m.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agents saw the smugglers flee into Mexico after dropping a narcotics load on the U.S. side of the border.

Nogales Police said the smugglers were trying to climb the fence when another group on the Mexico side began throwing rocks at the agents.

Nogales Police were first on scene.

"They were there to assist us and unfortunately the suspects were fleeing back into Mexico and I guess some of their accomplices were the ones that started throwing rocks," Nogales Police Department Lt. Carlos Jimenez said.

Nogales, Sonora Police told 9OYS border patrol agents were heard yelling, "Stop, or we're going to release the dogs."

Witnesses said 20 bullet shells were found on the U.S. side of the border and no shells were found on the Mexico side.

KGUN 9OYS asked Lt. Jimenez: is it unusual for a border agent to use gunfire when rocks are being thrown at him/her? 

"If the officer feels like he's in a situation where he can't retreat or get to a safe place and that's his only alternative to defend himself or anybody else that's being threatened by the rocks," Lt. Jimenez said.

Authorities said the group ignored verbal commands from the agents to cease fire. One agent fired, killing a young man.

Investigators said the man appears to be in his 20s. His identity and exact age are not being released.

The Government of Mexico was notified and the scene was secured. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is working with the FBI led investigation.