On Tuesday in Milton, Texas, 41 year old Jesus Flores-Cruz was shot and killed after he threw large rocks at a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The agent claims his life was being threatened.
Flores-Cruz, a Mexican citizen who investigators claim was most likely in the U.S. illegally, began throwing rocks at the agent from a hillside. The rocks being thrown gradually got larger – one was the size of a basketball – and some even hit the agent in the head. The agent, who remains unnamed, claims that he fired warning shots two times when he began to fear for his life. After Flores-Cruz refused to stop throwing rocks, the agent shot him dead.
The agent was alone at the time of the incident. He and another agent had separated earlier that morning to track down two individuals who were suspected of entering the U.S. illegally from Mexico.
Although the Department of Security (DHS) refused to comment on the specific incident, the department’s Deputy Security Alejandro Mayorkas said, “We are committed to ensuring the safety of our men and women who put their lives on the line on the border. At the same time we are committed to ensuring that our use-of-force policies are a reflection of best practices.”
In 2012, rock attacks were the second-most-common type of assault on agents — there were 185 separate rock attacks in that year alone. Agents responded with deadly force 22 times.
Despite the prevalence of such attacks, many on the left argue that Border Patrol agents should not be allowed to respond with deadly force while being attacked with improvised weapons like rocks and bottles. An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Mitra Ebadolahi, argued that Flores-Cruz’s shooting may not have been justified.
Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas’ Contributing Editor on border security expert and author of “Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer,” said that in the media “Border Patrol agents are made out to be the bad guys, shooting at innocent Mexican migrants who are ostensibly just tossing pebbles.”
She did point out, however, that in the recent Milton case, all of the known information about what conspired came solely from the agent since there were no witnesses. Longmire said, “It’s up to the investigators and Border Patrol supervisors to decide, based on the agent’s testimony and available physical evidence, if the agent’s account of events is accurate. If so, then it should be broadly understood that this agent took measures to defend his life against a lethal threat. If not, then appropriate disciplinary actions should be transparently taken against the agent, and measures initiated to prevent such an incident from happening again.”
Shawn Moran, a spokesman for the union representing Border Patrol agents, insisted that the debate at hand wouldn’t be necessary if the root of the problem were focused on and addressed. He said, “The easiest way to stop these incidents from happening is to stop attacking Border Patrol agents.”
Breitbart News’ Managing Director has written extensively on this issue of rock throwing and Border Patrol use of force policy. He revealed that often left-of-center efforts were disingenuously attacking the men and women of Border Patrol in an effort that would have resulted in huge swaths of the U.S./Mexico border being left wide open. His reporting detailed the circumstances Border Patrol operates within–that most agents are alone, miles from another person or backup and often without the ability to use their radios due to lack of communication towers.
Darby’s analysis was further reinforced given that U.S. Senator Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) believes that agents deserve the right to defend themselves, especially if they are alone and outnumbered in a desolate area where their radios often do not work. Cornyn told Breitbart News, “There are attacks against Border Patrol Agents and they need to be able to defend themselves. Many of [the Border Patrol Agents] are out in ones or twos, there is not the same backup available that metropolitan police settings allow.”