Mar 24, 2014 9:26 PM by Lupita Murillo and Michel Marizco
U.S. officials are investigating whether the Mexican Army shot a U.S. citizen who allegedly fled from an Army checkpoint, early Saturday morning.
Law enforcement sources who spoke to the News 4 Investigators said the incident began about 3:15 a.m., Saturday. The Mexican Army brought an injured U.S. man to the Sasabe port of entry and turned him over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The man suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the abdomen. The man was helicoptered to UAMC in Tucson where he was in stable condition, Monday afternoon. KVOA is not identifying the man because he has not been charged with a crime.
The shooting comes at a time of heavy criticism against U.S. federal law enforcement, particularly the U.S. Border Patrol, for its use of force shooting policies. On March 7, Border Patrol chief Michael Fisher released a directive stating that agents may not shoot at a moving vehicle unless agents fear for their lives or the lives of others. The agency chief stated agents should never fire on a vehicle merely trying to escape. The criticism has fallen almost exclusively on the U.S. so far. About 20 people have been killed by Border Patrol agents claiming self-defense since 2010. Almost no U.S. citizen has reported being shot by Mexican law enforcement sources. An analysis of State Department records by Agence France Press last year showed that at least 648 American citizens were murdered in Mexico between October 2002 and December 2012 - more than in any other country in the world.
The law enforcement sources spoke to KVOA News 4 on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the news media. But sources from two different law enforcement agencies said the Mexican Army shot at a white van carrying at least one and possibly three U.S. citizens when the driver of the van tried to flee from the Mexican Army's checkpoint.
Mark Johnson is a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. He read this prepared statement: "U.S. officials are in contact with Mexican authorities and seeking a full investigation into a March 22 incident in the Sasabe area involving U.S. citizens and Mexican security representatives," he said.
Johnson declined to answer any questions about whether the security representatives were with the Army or what the nature of the incident was.
We will have more on this story as it develops.
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