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30-year-old Baja man shot crossing border – did it have to happen?

Police declared that the man fought with Border Patrol agent

Pedestrian entry. Daniel Angel must have climbed over the first fence and made it to the federal U.S property middle ground.
Pedestrian entry. Daniel Angel must have climbed over the first fence and made it to the federal U.S property middle ground.

On Friday October 23, an altercation between a Border Patrol agent and a Mexican man who was trying to enter illegally into the U.S. ended in the death of the latter. The incident happened a couple of yards from the pedestrian port of entry in San Ysidro, in between the two fences that divide the area called “El bordo” in Tijuana and the parking lot of Las Americas Premium Outlet mall.

The Mexican national shot to death was Daniel Angel, a Baja California citizen that had lived in the U.S. for 15 years until 2018 when he was deported back to Tijuana. “Approximately 5:45 p.m., a U.S. Border Patrol agent responded to apprehend a man illegally entering the U.S. During the arrest, an altercation ensued and the agent discharged his firearm, wounding the man. At 6:25 p.m. the man was pronounced deceased at the scene,” said Aaron Heitke, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol.

Protestors after the killing

The victim’s father called out to local media about excessive use of force by the Border Patrol agent, saying that he didn’t deserve to die like that. “To apprehend a person, they have pepper spray, tasers. They do not have the necessity to use lethal force against him,” said his father, who noticed that his son could never find his place again in Tijuana. “He worked in two call centers because he learned English but he couldn’t adapt to the low salaries… and he just wanted to be with his sisters and mother, he just wanted to be with his family.”

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In his attempt to cross back to the U.S., Daniel Angel must have climbed over the first fence and made it to the federal U.S property middle ground before actually crossing the borderline. This is where he had the encounter with a Border Patrol agent whose name has not been released by the San Diego Police Department, who is currently handling the investigation of the case.

The next day Lt. Andra Brown from the San Diego police declared that the man fought with the agent, who received minor injuries. She confirmed the man was 30 years old and was trying to enter the U.S. illegally. She said that the U.S. Border Patrol is cooperating with the investigation.

This has caused reactions from human rights collectives and even “regrets” from the Mexican consulate in San Diego, who has stressed their concerns about this case and another one that happened this month, after another Mexican national died in an incident with police.

The American Friends Service Committee sent a letter to the San Diego police urging not to leave the investigation under the management of any agencies from the Department of Homeland Security. "Any involvement or coordination with these agencies, and specifically with Critical Incident Investigation Teams has the potential to corrupt the investigation and could be considered an obstruction of justice,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, the Mexican government letter states “the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego is closely following both cases and has requested local authorities to carry out expeditious, impartial and transparent investigations to establish the facts and determine where responsibilities lie.” On a protest held last Monday on the Virginia Avenue dead-end road, Pedro Rios, director of the Friends committee, said “let’s put it in context, most of the time, victims of the excessive use of force by the authorities are African-Americans or Latinos.”

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Pedestrian entry. Daniel Angel must have climbed over the first fence and made it to the federal U.S property middle ground.
Pedestrian entry. Daniel Angel must have climbed over the first fence and made it to the federal U.S property middle ground.

On Friday October 23, an altercation between a Border Patrol agent and a Mexican man who was trying to enter illegally into the U.S. ended in the death of the latter. The incident happened a couple of yards from the pedestrian port of entry in San Ysidro, in between the two fences that divide the area called “El bordo” in Tijuana and the parking lot of Las Americas Premium Outlet mall.

The Mexican national shot to death was Daniel Angel, a Baja California citizen that had lived in the U.S. for 15 years until 2018 when he was deported back to Tijuana. “Approximately 5:45 p.m., a U.S. Border Patrol agent responded to apprehend a man illegally entering the U.S. During the arrest, an altercation ensued and the agent discharged his firearm, wounding the man. At 6:25 p.m. the man was pronounced deceased at the scene,” said Aaron Heitke, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol.

Protestors after the killing

The victim’s father called out to local media about excessive use of force by the Border Patrol agent, saying that he didn’t deserve to die like that. “To apprehend a person, they have pepper spray, tasers. They do not have the necessity to use lethal force against him,” said his father, who noticed that his son could never find his place again in Tijuana. “He worked in two call centers because he learned English but he couldn’t adapt to the low salaries… and he just wanted to be with his sisters and mother, he just wanted to be with his family.”

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In his attempt to cross back to the U.S., Daniel Angel must have climbed over the first fence and made it to the federal U.S property middle ground before actually crossing the borderline. This is where he had the encounter with a Border Patrol agent whose name has not been released by the San Diego Police Department, who is currently handling the investigation of the case.

The next day Lt. Andra Brown from the San Diego police declared that the man fought with the agent, who received minor injuries. She confirmed the man was 30 years old and was trying to enter the U.S. illegally. She said that the U.S. Border Patrol is cooperating with the investigation.

This has caused reactions from human rights collectives and even “regrets” from the Mexican consulate in San Diego, who has stressed their concerns about this case and another one that happened this month, after another Mexican national died in an incident with police.

The American Friends Service Committee sent a letter to the San Diego police urging not to leave the investigation under the management of any agencies from the Department of Homeland Security. "Any involvement or coordination with these agencies, and specifically with Critical Incident Investigation Teams has the potential to corrupt the investigation and could be considered an obstruction of justice,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, the Mexican government letter states “the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego is closely following both cases and has requested local authorities to carry out expeditious, impartial and transparent investigations to establish the facts and determine where responsibilities lie.” On a protest held last Monday on the Virginia Avenue dead-end road, Pedro Rios, director of the Friends committee, said “let’s put it in context, most of the time, victims of the excessive use of force by the authorities are African-Americans or Latinos.”

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