NewsLocal NewsSouth Bay News


Border patrol agents report 2 recent shootings near San Ysidro port of entry

No injuries or suspect descriptions were reported
Border Fence, Border Patrol (FILE)
Posted at 11:54 AM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-19 22:42:57-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Border Patrol agents stationed at the San Ysidro port of entry have reported two shootings that happened recently nearby the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Obviously it’s concerning for the safety of our agents but for the public and the migrants as well,” Chief Orlando Romero, Alliance To Combat Transnational Threat of Border Patrol - San Diego Sector, says.

According to the press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the most recent shooting happened around 9 p.m. Monday, May 15, just yards north of the border. Agents were giving medical attention to a 4-year-old boy about a half mile east of the San Ysidro port of entry when they heard the gunfire.

“[The shooter] happened to hit the border fence, so it was sort of in the direction of the agents and the people that were there attending to the child. So automatically, they reacted, got the person and the personnel out of the area,” Romero says.

Agents told everyone in the area, including the boy and first responders giving him attention, to take cover. CBP dispatched a helicopter to provide air cover as it sent members of its special response team. Border Patrol also requested help from Mexican law enforcement, since agents determined the shots were fired from south of the border.

The press release says a person entering the country illegally had dropped the boy from the primary border wall.

Romero told ABC 10News the child is doing well and was cleared from the hospital.

Border Patrol did not report any injuries in this shooting.

The press release says the first shooting happened Saturday, May 13, as Border Patrol agents patrolled in the San Ysidro Mountains. A Border Patrol supervisor told dispatch around 8:30 p.m. that someone was shooting at him.

The supervisor reported the gunfire came from the southwest, and Border Patrol's air assets confirmed there were several people in his vicinity just south of the border. Surveillance cameras also showed several people in the same spot, and one of them appeared to be carrying a rifle, according to Border Patrol.

No injuries were reported in this shooting either, per Border Patrol.

San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke says violence at the border is a significant threat to public safety and his agents.

"This is another example of the inherent dangers that agents face every day,” says Heitke. “We are taking these events very seriously and are working with law enforcement partners in the U.S. and Mexico to identify the source of the gunfire.”

Romero says Border Patrol wants its agents to stay safe as they react to high-stress situations.

“So, if it calls to pull out of certain areas, then we want them to do that. But we will address these threats. We will go after these individuals; these smugglers that take advantage of these migrants,” Romero says.

Both countries are investigating the shootings and working to identify the suspects of these separate incidents. More agents are patrolling the San Ysidro area as well.

This is not only concerning for federal officials, but also for local immigration advocates like Pedro Rios as well.

“We know that a lot of the smuggling rings that are involved in crossing migrants from Mexico to the U.S. often times are connected with organized crime," Rios, who is the director of the American Friends Service Committee, says. "We have seen incidents in the recent past few months where there have been several migrants who have been killed."

If you have any information for Border Patrol about these shootings, reach out to the San Diego Sector intelligence center at 619-216-4180.

San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond says he's deeply alarmed about the violence at the border, and he feels the federal government did not adequately prepare the San Diego region for Title 42's expiration.

"Our border patrol agents' and first responders' safety and security are paramount. These incidents highlight issues not adequately addressed for safe and secure borders.

"The brazen attacks on our border patrol agents are a stark reminder of the dangerous conditions our brave law enforcement officers endure to carry out their duties to protect us. I want to thank them for their bravery and commitment will continue to do whatever I can to support their efforts."

-Jim Desmond