There are conflicting stories over what led to the shooting of an illegal immigrant by a Border Patrol agent last week in southern Arizona’s Walker Canyon.
A lawyer for the agent’s union says the unidentified agent was forced to shoot Jesus Enriquez Castro, 30, because Enriquez threatened the agent with a rock.
A lawyer for Enriquez says the wounded man was knocked to the ground by the agent’s horse before the agent shot him in the abdomen.
Tucson-based attorney Robert Murray tells the Nogales International that Enriquez told him the agent actually ran over Enriquez with the horse. “He was knocked to the ground, and as he was on the ground, the border patrolman, who was still on horseback, shot him,” Murray said.
The agent, who is Hispanic, then began to cuss out Enriquez in Spanish, Murray said. “He dismounted and pointed the gun at the guy’s head and said what translates as: ‘Go ahead and run, (expletive), and I’ll kill you.’”
As for the allegation that Enriquez threatened the agent with a rock, Murray said: “The only time he had his hand near a rock was one he was squeezing and holding onto because he was in so much pain. That’s what he tells me.”
Enriquez was shot at about 9:30 a.m. Nov. 16 after the agent came across a group of 12 illegal immigrants in Walker Canyon, about two miles northeast of Pena Blanca Lake.
Witnesses told Santa Cruz County sheriff’s investigators that the group scattered and ran, and one woman said she turned to see Enriquez fall to the ground before the shot rang out.
But Jim Calle, a lawyer who represents National Border Patrol Council Local 2544, said Enriquez wielded a rock before the agent forced him to drop it by advancing on him with his horse. Enriquez picked up another rock while advancing to within 3 or 4 feet of the agent.
At that point, Calle said, the agent felt he had no choice but to shoot.
“The bottom line is that the agent acted in response to an alien who kept threatening him,” Calle said.