Border Patrol Agent Shoots Child Eight Times in the Back, Charged With 2nd Degree Murder

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EL PASO, TX — José Rodríguez was walking home after a game of basketball, when all hell broke loose around him.

Gunshots started being fired from across the border, around 30 feet away from where he was.

It seemed as though some men from Arizona had climbed over the 18 feet border fence into Mexico.

Moments later the men who started it all, scurried past the 16-year-old. Apparently, some of them had thrown rocks.

This is when a round of 10 bullets zipped from the other side of the border and entered Jose’s body.

Two of the shots hit him in the front, eight in his back.

Whether he had turned to run away, we shall never know – because Rodríguez did not survive to tell the tale, he laid dead in a pool of his own blood. All this happened in October 2012.

What followed was a long-drawn-out episode involving constitutional considerations and arguments.

The man who fired the shots was Lonnie Swartz, a border patrol agent.


His actions raised many questions including whether the US Constitution applies to a Mexican citizen on foreign soil.

In 2014, frustrated with the federal investigation that seemed to drag forever, Jose’s family sued in federal court, hoping to bring evidence against the agent before a judge and jury.

In a twisted comment, Lonnie’s attorney suggested that his client was innocent because there is no clearly established law that governs the area, so there was no case.

And then came Jose’s second birthday since his death.

“My son, my son, my son,” cried Araceli Rodríguez thinking of Jose who would have would have turned 19.

Ironically, she told anyone who would listen, he wanted to be a soldier.

Although, her son’s case was in court at the time, she said the matter was pretty straight forward.

“I don’t see the case to have a trial, or why there are so many questions when it’s clear that he was murdered,” she commented.

Last week, her incessant pleas were finally answered.

Lonnie was charged with second-degree murder for firing across the border and killing Jose.

However, the issue does not end with Jose’s case.

Investigations have shown that patrol agents who do end up using lethal force across the border often do not face any consequences.

In the last decade or so at least 52 people have died in such incidents.

Officers responsible for the first 46 killings did not even face any disciplinary action from the authorities.

This includes occasions when unarmed teenage victims were shot in the back. These facts were confirmed by Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection.

So far, Lonnie is the third officer to have been indicted since 2005.

Until late last year, the offender had name suppression.

Although Araceli is relieved that the family’s efforts have borne fruit, she still cannot forget Jose.

“The murder of my son, it’s as if it happened yesterday,” she said.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3374 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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