GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A Border Patrol agent fired nine shots at an unarmed suspected drug smuggler on the run, striking him once in the head and killing him on a Green Valley golf course Friday, the Pima County Sheriff's Department announced Monday.
Lt. David Theel with the Sheriff's Department tells 9 On Your Side detectives learned Border Patrol agents pursued 31-year-old Jose Luis Arambula on foot for approximately one quarter mile before Agent Daniel Marquez fired his service weapon. It started with a car chase after Arambula drove off from a checkpoint on I-19.
Agent Marquez fired his weapon from about 60-70 feet back, Lt. Theel said. One shot struck Arambula in the back of the head behind his left ear. He died on the scene.
Arambula had twenty-one bales of marijuana, weighing nearly 500 pounds in total in his car, Lt. Theel said, adding agents did not find a weapon on him or in the car.
Bill Pauch and Doug Collier played a round of golf Monday morning on the same Green Valley course where Friday's fatal shooting happened.
"I don't have any empathy for the guy they shot," Collier said. "Border Patrol's got a hard job."
"He doesn't have a weapon and he tries to flee, it seems to me a shame to kill him," Pauch said.
Friday's deadly shooting happened the same day Customs and Border Protection released a scathing report by the Police Executive Research Forum on agents' use of force.
CBP also released a revised policy manual which requires agents to avoid situations where they have to use deadly force. It also mandates the training in non-lethal weapons for all agents. The new guidlines also aim to limit agents firing at rock throwers or moving vehicles.
9 On Your Side spoke with ACLU attorney James Lyall about the timing of the latest Border Patrol shooting and new policy guidelines.
"It sounds like this suspect was fleeing on foot and didn't pose a safety risk to himself, others or agents," Lyall said. "So its raises the question whether this new policy is going to be followed on the ground."
Art Del Cueto is the president of Local 2544, the Tucson Border Patrol sector union. Del Cueto is defending Agent Marquez's actions, telling 9 On Your Side all agents are highly trained.
"It is easy to be back in Washington or behind a desk and never been out here and done the job and come out with policies on your own," Del Cueto said.
Del Cueto said the union is upset with the Sheriff's Department for releasing Agent Marquez's name.
"Our procedure is that when we have subjects identified in a criminal incident we identify the involved players," Lt. Theel said. "If you look at our media releases involving our own officer-involved shootings, we put the deputy involved name's out right away."
The investigation is ongoing, Lt. Theel said. Once complete, deputies will turn over their findings to the Pima County Attorney's office.
Deputies also says that Arambula was arrested by PCSD in a similar incident involving drug trafficking and a vehicle pursuit on April 4, 2014.
PCSD continues to investigate the incident.