Updated February 24, 2014 with identities of agent and suspect
February 18, 2014 (Otay)—A U.S. Border Patrol agent who was struck by a thrown rock shot and killed Jesus Flores-Cruz, 43 , who died at the scene. The shooting occurred at 6:40 this morning in the White Cross area of the Otay Mountain Range. The identity of the deceased, who sustained two gunshot wounds, was confirmed by comparing fingerprints from a 1996 arrest by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
According to San Diego Sheriff Homicide Lt. Glenn Giannatonio, the agents were attempting to detain a group of suspected illegal aliens. “The two agents were out of sight of each when one of the agents was struck in the face by a rock thrown by one of the suspects. Fearing for his safety, the agent fired,” he said, adding that the agent suffered minor injuries.
The United States Border Patrol Agent involved in this incident has been identified as Daniel Basinger. Agent Basinger has worked for the United States Border Patrol for just over 2 ½ years. Agent Basinger has returned to duty, San Diego Sheriff's Department announced.
Rocks are the weapons most often used in assaults locally on Border Patrol Agents, and this is not the first time such a conflict has proven deadly, a fact that has stirred controversy.
The Police Executive Research Forum, an organization that conducted a review commissioned by the federal government, recently recommended that Customs and Border Protection prohibit deadly force against rock throwers. Current policy allows an agent to respond with lethal force if the agent believes his or her life is threatened.
In response to this recent incident, Christian Ramírez, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, released the following statement: "Lethal force incidents should be thoroughly investigated. It is important that the public be assured that Border Patrol agents are well equipped and trained to prevent loss of life and held accountable when they use excessive force. Border Patrol must adhere to the best of policing practices and border communities reiterate that the federal agency must release the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) findings that look into the Border Patrol's use-of-force policy."
In 2011, there were 339 attacks on agents with rocks. Agents responded with nonlethal force 118 times and with gunshots 33; In 2012, agents were assaulted 185 times with rocks. Agents responded with gunfire 22 times and with nonlethal force 42 times.
Shawn Moran with the National Border Patrol Council said the best way to prevent such shottings is for people to stop attacking Border Patrol agents.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321/after hours at (858) 565-5200. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.