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UPDATED: Lawsuit Names Agent Who Fatally Shot Juarez Teen

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Attorneys for the family of a 15-year-old Juarez boy have identified the U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed him last June, the El Paso Times reported.

Jesus Mesa Jr. was identified in an amended complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in El Paso as the agent who shot Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca on June 7, 2010, the Times said.

The suit was filed in January identifying the agent only as John Doe, the paper reported.

Hernandez Guereca’s family is seeking $25 million in damages from federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Border Patrol, according to the Times.

A Corpus Christi, Texas, law firm, Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP, is representing Hernandez Guereca’s parents, Maria Guadalupe Guereca Betancour and Jesus Hernandez, who claim Mesa “negligently, wrongfully and tortuously caused the death of Guereca,” the Times said.

At the time of the shooting, Border Patrol officials declined to release the agent’s name, saying only that he was a 31-year-old who had been with the agency seven years, the paper reported.

Mesa returned to duty within days of the teen’s death, and has denied any wrongdoing through his attorney, the Times said.

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9:00am 8/25/10 — Border Patrol Agent Who Shot Mexican Teen Back on Duty: Still-unnamed agent spent just a couple of days on leave before returning to job.

The U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican boy in June has been back on regular duty for the past two months, officials told the El Paso Times this week.

The agent, whose name and current assignment have not been released, was placed on administrative leave for a couple of days following the June 7 fatal shooting of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca before returning to patrol, Michael Przybyl, assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, told the Times.

The agent is 31 years old and has been with the agency seven years, Przybyl said.

The Border Patrol has said the agent fired after coming under attack by people throwing rocks near the Paso del Norte Bridge, and the teen died on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande from a bullet wound to the head, the Times said.

The agent has not been charged with wrongdoing, but the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil-rights investigation, the paper reported.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called Hernandez’s death “extremely regrettable,” and Mexican President Felipe Calderon pledged at the time to “use all resources available to protect the rights of Mexican migrants,” the Times said.

The FBI also is investigating a case of assault on the agent, according to the Times.


5:45am 6/22/10 — Legal Experts Say Extradition of Border Agent Unlikely: Name of agent who shot Juarez teen on June 7 still hasn’t been released.

Even if the U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a 15-year-old Juarez boy on June 7 is charged in Mexico, he is unlikely to be extradited, legal experts told the El Paso Times.

Border Patrol officials have declined to release the name of the agent who shot Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15, despite formal requests, and Hernandez’s family as well as Mexican officials have demanded a full investigation of the incident in which U.S. officials have said the agent was defending himself against rock throwers, the Times said.

The teen’s relatives also have said they want prosecutors in Mexico to file murder charges against the agent and seek his extradition, the paper reported.

“Under the extradition treaty, the basic rule is that countries aren’t obligated to extradite their own nationals,” Allen Weiner, co-director of Stanford University’s Program in International and Comparative Law, told the Times.

“It’s pretty inconceivable to me that the U.S. would surrender one of its officials, especially if the agent was in good-faith execution of his duties,” Weiner told the paper. “It’s conceivable that he would be in fact charged in Mexico, but it would only affect whether he’d want to vacation in Cancun next year.”

Edwin Smith, an international law professor at the University of Southern California, told the Times that Mexican officials would have to prove that the shooting was a reckless and intentional act before the United States would consider it a crime.

“They would only extradite the individual if it was a legitimate crime,” Smith told the paper. “It’s very unlikely you would find that a Border Patrol agent acting in an official capacity using force as having committed murder in the U.S.”


 

6:00am 6/10/10 — U.S. Officials Say Slain Juarez Teen Had Smuggling Record: Univision shows cell-phone video of Monday’s fatal confrontation on Rio Grande.

A Juarez teenager who was shot and killed Monday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent had a history of smuggling immigrants across the border, federal law enforcement officials told the El Paso Times on Wednesday.

The uproar over the death of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15,  intensified Wednesday with protests, vigils and the broadcast of a cell-phone video purportedly taken of the incident by a bystander, the Times said.

The grainy cell-phone video was aired Wednesday evening on the Spanish-language Univision television network, the paper reported.

The video purports to show four men crossing the nearly dry Rio Grande riverbed toward a fence on the U.S. side of the border and shows the men running back into Mexico when a Border Patrol agent arrives on a bicycle and stops one at gunpoint on the U.S. side, the Times said.

While the agent has one of the men on the ground, he points his gun toward Mexico and several gunshots are heard, then the video shows a body on the ground beneath the railroad bridge across the Rio Grande, according to the Times.

The video then shows the arrival of Mexican police with guns drawn, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials said the dead teen was a known juvenile smuggler and was on the El Paso juvenile smugglers most-wanted list at the time of his death and that his most recent charge of smuggling undocumented immigrants into the United States was in 2009, the Times said.

Mexican officials could not confirm whether Hernandez had previously committed a crime, but said his possible criminal history is being investigated, a spokesman for the Chihuahua attorney general’s office told the Times.

Three bridge vendors interviewed Wednesday said they saw the Border Patrol agent shoot Hernandez but disputed claims that the teenager threatened the agent, the Times said.

“The kid wasn’t throwing rocks,” one of the vendors, Estelle Gonzalez, told reporters. “He was only watching.”

Two other vendors said Hernandez wasn’t throwing anything at the agent, the paper reported.

“He was shooting like crazy,” Gonzalez said of the agent, who has not been named by U.S. authorities.

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