EL PASO, Texas — The FBI and Border Patrol are investigating after the Mexican government said a Mexican citizen was killed when a U.S. agent patrolling the Rio Grande fired his weapon across the border, a Border Patrol spokesman said Thursday.
Border agents were aboard a boat near Laredo when a group of people began throwing rocks at them Monday, Border Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks said. One of the agents fired shots across the border toward Nuevo Laredo.
Brooks said it wasn't immediately clear to the agents whether anyone was hit by the bullets. Mexico's Foreign Relations Department issued a statement Wednesday saying a Mexican citizen had been fatally shot.
FBI spokesman Erick Vasys said his agency is investigating the rock-throwing as an attack on federal officers, while the shooting will be part of an internal review by the Border Patrol.
"We normally and regularly open investigations when a federal officer is assaulted," Vasys said. "Especially if gunfire is involved."
The Mexican foreign relations department's statement protested the use of what it called disproportionate force in immigration control and demanded thorough investigation of the incident. Ricardo Alday, spokesman at the Mexican embassy in Washington, said the Mexican government still is gathering information on the case and also expects to get the results of the investigations by U.S. authorities.
Border agents are generally allowed to use lethal force against rock throwers.
In 2010, a 15-year-old boy was killed by bullets fired by a U.S. Border Patrol agent from El Paso, Texas, into Juarez, Mexico. Some witnesses said people on the Mexican side of the river, including the teen, were throwing rocks at the agent as he tried to arrest an illegal immigrant crossing the Rio Grande.