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Border shooting in San Diego County: Marksman killed man assaulting migrants, feds say

San Diego, California-Aug. 10, 2022-A U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols along the U.S. - Mexico border east of Otay Mesa, San Diego, California on Aug. 10, 2022. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
A U.S. Border Patrol agent drives along the U.S.-Mexico border east of Otay Mesa in San Diego on Aug. 10, 2022. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

A man fatally shot by a border patrol marksman earlier this month near the California-Mexico border was gunned down because he was threatening migrants with a firearm, federal officials said.

The U.S Customs and Border Protection recently released new details about the March 3 shooting, which killed a 32-year-old Mexican citizen not far from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry border checkpoint. The man has not been publicly identified.

According to the federal agency, a border patrol tactical unit was set up that day near a paved road that runs through the Otay Mountains, a few miles east of the Otay Mesa border crossing, after reports of armed robberies and assaults targeting migrants trying to cross into the U.S.

Read more: 'Gun battle' involving U.S. border agents kills one in San Diego County near Mexico border

The border agents, who were in a concealed position, saw the man threaten a group of migrants by loading a firearm and pointing it at them, according to the border patrol statement. At that point, a border patrol precision marksman fired one shot at the armed man, fatally striking him.

No other injuries were reported in the shooting. Investigators said they recovered a handgun near the man who was killed.

A border patrol union leader had previously described the incident as a "gun battle," but federal officials said only one shot was fired.

Investigators also interviewed other witnesses, whose recall of the event matched that of border agents, the statement said. The witnesses said the armed man, who was with at least three others, had demanded money from the migrants.

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Emergency medical teams arrived minutes after the shooting, and despite CPR efforts, the man was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Autopsy results from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office have not been released.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not release video from the shooting but said it was "committed to expeditiously releasing the body-worn camera footage of this incident as soon as is appropriate to do so and without impacting the ongoing law enforcement investigations."

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the border patrol's Office of Professional Responsibility are continuing to investigate, officials said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.