NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Rocks. When hurled at people, they can be dangerous. Border Patrol agents in Arizona know that first hand. Another rock-throwing incident along the fence this week reaffirms the threat. What’s different this time compared to some other encounters is how agents reacted.
Customs and Border Protection told KGUN9 News two people were at the fence west of downtown Nogales with what looked like bundles of drugs early Monday morning.
Agents moved in and the agency said a group on the Mexican side started throwing rocks. One rock hit an agent in the back, CBP reported, and he is OK. An agency spokesman did not know the size of the rock.
CBP declined to be part of an interview Thursday.
“It can be very dangerous,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada, talking about the danger of rocks. “It can be lethal.”
“It's going to hurt,” the border sheriff said, holding a large rock. “It's going to inflict a lot of injuries. These are obviously people that are young, they are strong and they hurl something like this at deadly force.”
In some past cases, agents have responded to that use of potentially deadly force using guns.
The area where Monday’s incident happened, in fact, is about the same area where agent or agents shot and killed a 16 year old in late 2012.
In this recent case, agents used what's called "less-than-lethal" force, including a Taser-like device and a canister that sends out a cloud of pepper spray in powder form to break up the crowd.
It worked, but the suspects got away.
Estrada warned agents, deputies and anyone along the fence needs to be aware of the threat.
The KGUN9 crew at the scene along the fence also encountered rock throwers. Someone on the Mexican side hurled some small rocks over and through the fence. The crew was unharmed.