A man was shot to death Thursday night during a struggle with a U.S. Border Patrol agent near the Arizona-Mexico border, officials said Friday.
Agents were tracking a group of illegal immigrants about 8:30 p.m. near Apache, about 30 miles northeast of Douglas. Two people were caught without incident, but a third person ran away, Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.
The man was found a short time later hiding under a tree and began to fight with the agent, Capas said. The man also tried to take the agent’s gun, which prompted the agent to grab his weapon and shoot the man, the release says.
Customs and Border Protection corroborated the account from the Sheriff’s Office. The agency directed all questions about the incident to the Sheriff’s Office, saying it will be leading the investigation.
Since 2005, on-duty Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed at least 42 people, including 13 Americans, The Arizona Republic has reported — four deaths have happened in the agency’s Yuma Sector and 13 in its Tucson Sector.
The last known fatal shooting in the Tucson Sector happened in December 2012, when a Border Patrol agent in the Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson killed 19-year-old Guatemalan Margarito Lopez Morelos. That shooting also occurred after a struggle with an agent.
The man shot and killed Thursday is believed to be in his 20’s. The man’s body was taken to the Pima County Medical Examiners Office. He has not been identified.
The other two people apprehended are Mexican nationals who were in the country illegally. The Mexican Consulate was notified, but as of Friday evening consulate officials didn’t have additional information.