SAN DIEGO - A rock-throwing man who was suspected of having entered the United States illegally and who was shot to death by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the rugged southern reaches of San Diego County this week was identified as a 41-year-old Mexican national with a prior drug-related arrest.
Jesus Flores-Cruz suffered two gunshot wounds around 6:40 a.m. Tuesday in the White Cross area of the Otay Mountain Range, roughly four miles east of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, said San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio in a statement,
The suspect was identified through his fingerprints, which were recorded during a 1996 arrest by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the lieutenant.
Shortly before the shooting, the agent and another U.S. Border Patrol agent were attempting to apprehend two other immigrants suspected of illegal entry into the U.S. when the agents split up to cut off the fleeing suspects, Giannantonio said.
The agent who later fired his weapon saw a third suspect unrelated to the two already being chased.
"He ordered the man to stop in English and Spanish but he fled on foot," Giannantonio said. "The agent chased after him, following him down a ravine and back up the opposite hillside."
While above the agent on a hillside, the suspect picked up fist-sized rocks and began throwing them at the agent despite repeated orders in English and Spanish to stop, Giannantonio said, noting the rocks being thrown got progressively bigger, reaching the size of a basketball.
"One of the larger rocks struck the agent in the head," he said. "Fearing that another rock strike to the head could kill or incapacitate him, the agent fired his duty pistol at least twice at the man, striking him."
Flores-Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene.
The agent, who deflected some of the rocks with his hands, was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.