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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NEWS - Shooting at the San Ysidro Crossing


SHOOTING AT SAN YSIDRO BORDER
Source: San Diego Written by Susan Shroder
Sept. 22, 2011..Updated 9:25 p.m.

Authorities investigate an officer-involved shooting at the San Ysidro border crossing Thursday afternoon. The shooting occurred in the area where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers process pedestrians crossing into the United States from Mexico, federal officials said. - Earnie Grafton

A pedestrian trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border was shot by two Customs officers Thursday evening after he pulled a gun that was later determined to be a fake, San Diego police said.

The man suffered wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening and was taken to a hospital, said police homicide Lt. Kevin Rooney. The man identified himself and said he was 47 years old, but officers had not yet been able to confirm the name or where the man lived, Rooney said.

The shooting at the San Ysidro Port of Entry created a panic in the busy area, said Enrique Guzman, 62, of Tijuana, who said he was working nearby as a baggage handler and saw the shooting. He said people hit the ground after hearing the shots.

Keenan Machado, 27, of Encinitas, was in line when the shooting occurred. He was returning from a dentist appointment in Tijuana.

"It was scary. I've never seen anyone get shot before," he said.

The incident was reported about 5:10 p.m. when the man was in the front of the line at the pedestrian crossing. He was approaching a crossing gate when he was contacted by a Customs officer who was processing border crossers. The officer said the man appeared nervous, and for reasons not yet known, tried to run north. When he fled, two other Customs officers grabbed and detained him, Rooney said.

The man pulled out what appeared to be a metal gun from his waistband and raised it in the air and pulled the trigger, and the gun made a sound as if a shot had been fired, Rooney said. The lieutenant called it a "replica gun" that looks like a semiautomatic weapon.

The two Customs officers then fired at the man, who fell to the ground, Rooney said.

He declined to say where on the body the man had been shot or how many shots were fired. Rooney said one of the Customs officers suffered a minor injury in the scuffle to detain the man.

At the time of the shooting, the pedestrian line stretched about 100 feet, Rooney said.

The pedestrian crossing was closed 35 to 40 minutes as the incident was investigated, said Frank Jaramillo, San Ysidro port director.

It was the second major incident at the port in about a week. On Sept. 14, a construction canopy collapsed on cars, and 11 people were taken to hospitals.