WATCH: Border Patrol Agent to be Tried For Murder of Mexican Teen

For Araceli Rodriguez, the wait has been agony.

Her son was shot dead by a Border Patrol agent who fired 16 bullets through the border fence and into Mexico in October 2012 — a month before former President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term.

For three years, Rodriguez relentlessly pressured the U.S. government, by suing it and pushing to keep the case in the media.

She wanted justice for her son, who was 16 years old when he was killed.

It seemed her advocacy had finally paid off: Lonnie Swartz, the Border Patrol agent who fired across the border was indicted for second degree murder in October 2015, almost three years to the day when Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was killed.

She didn’t realize murder charges would mean more waiting. After receiving a visa to see Swartz plead not guilty, she has traveled to Tucson more than a half dozen times, as trial delays have prolonged her search for justice two and half years.

Now the waiting appears to be over. Swartz’s murder trial starts Tuesday in Tucson.

What the case is about

On Oct 10, 2012, Border Patrol agents were attempting to catch smugglers on International Street in Nogales, Arizona, just north of the border wall.

Two individuals were climbing back into Mexico from the U.S. and got stuck on top of the fence. Two others began throwing rocks from Calle International, in Mexico, to stop the Border Patrol from capturing the people on the fence — a common tactic on this portion of the border.

According to video shown in court, Elena Rodriguez approaches the two men. He can’t be seen throwing rocks, but prosecutors don’t dispute that point. Swartz then runs toward the border fence and opens fire three times.

Elena Rodriguez is hit and falls down, while the other two individuals run behind the nearest building, a doctor’s office

Swartz continued firing at Elena Rodriguez while the teenager was on the ground, sending 13 more shots in two volleys as the 16-year-old was face down on the ground.

The Mexican side of the fence where Elena Rodriguez died is about 25 feet lower than the U.S. side. Because of the arc an object thrown over the fence from Mexico would have to follow, it would be all but impossible for a rock thrown from Mexico to hit someone near the fence on the U.S. side.

To avoid being hit by rocks in this area, agents normally take cover behind vehicles or come close to the fence.

After he stopped firing, Swartz began to vomit and told a supervisor:

“They were throwing rocks … They hit the (K-9) dog … I shot and there’s someone dead in Mexico,” Swartz said, according to the court records.

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About author

Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 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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