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Border shooting of teen spurs outrage in Mexico

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By The Los Angeles Times
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 9:26 p.m.
 

MEXICO CITY — The fatal shooting of a teenager suspected of throwing rocks at U.S. Border Patrol agents has prompted strong condemnations from Mexican officials and human rights groups amid a sharp increase in agent-involved killings along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The suspected smuggler was shot on Wednesday night by agents after they ordered a group of youths near downtown Nogales, Mexico, to stop throwing rocks, according to U.S. officials. Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, died at the scene from several bullet wounds, according to Mexican authorities in the state of Sonora, across the border from Arizona.

Under agency guidelines, repelling rock attacks with bullets can be regarded as a justifiable use of force in part because rocks have inflicted serious injuries on agents. But critics have grown increasingly vocal at the frequency of such incidents and what they call a lack of transparency in follow-up investigations. Wednesday's confrontation was the third incident since September; at least 15 civilians have died in agent-involved confrontations since 2010.

“The disproportionate use of lethal force in the exercise of immigration control functions is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the Mexican Ministry of Exterior Relations said.

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