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U.S. Supreme Court Passes On Civil Liability For Border Patrol Agent Shooting And Killing Teen In Mexico

U.S. Supreme Court Passes on Civil Liability for Border Patrol Agent Shooting and Killing Teen in Mexico

In 2010, 15-year-old Sergio Hernandez Guereca was shot in the head and killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent while the agent stood in the U.S., and Hernandez Guereca ran from him, on the Mexican side of the border in Juarez.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Border Patrol agent, Jesus Mesa Jr., was immune from a civil lawsuit by Hernandez Guereca’s parents. As Reuters reported today, Mesa had detained one of a cluster of boys at the border for “illegal border crossing, but Hernández ran away and made it back to the Mexican side. Mesa drew his weapon and fired from about 60 feet away, killing the 15-year-old with a shot to the head.”

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“The teen, a Mexican national, was playing with three friends in the concrete culvert that separates the two cities. They dared one another to cross the unmarked border, run up and touch the fence on the U.S. side, then run back to the Mexican side.”

In November, 2018, Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz was acquitted on criminal charges for shooting and killing 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. Elena Rodriguez was on the Nogales, Mexico side of the border fence in Arizona when Swartz shot multiple times through the fence, down a slope of about 12 feet to the street where Elena Rodrigues was standing – Swartz says he was throwing stones up the incline and through the fence, leading the agent to fear for his life – hitting the teen with ten bullets.

Today’s Supreme Court decision will now prevent Elena Rodriguez’s family from pursuing their civil case against Swartz.

Action by Border Patrol agents is often complicated; careful attention to details on the ground matters a great deal. Neither of these cases allows for much ambiguity. A close look at a recent photograph of the border-side street in Nogales on which Jose Antonio Elena Rodriquez was killed speaks volumes.

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