Border Patrol agent acquitted in fatal shooting of Mexican teen

A Border Patrol agent was acquitted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter in the deadly shooting of a Mexica...

Posted: Nov 22, 2018 7:21 PM
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 7:21 PM

A Border Patrol agent was acquitted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter in the deadly shooting of a Mexican teen, court records show.

Lonnie Swartz was accused of shooting through a border fence in Nogales, Arizona, in 2012 and killing 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who was on the Mexican side of the border. The agent fired 14 to 30 shots and 10 of those bullets hit the teen, officials said.

Arizona

Border control

Continents and regions

Court trials

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Decisions and rulings

Demographic groups

Families and children

Family members and relatives

International relations

International relations and national security

Latin America

Law and legal system

Mexico

National security

North America

Population and demographics

Shootings

Society

Southwestern United States

Teenagers

Territorial and national borders

The Americas

Trial and procedure

United States

Acquittals

Criminal law

Verdicts

Swartz said he shot through the fence because he was getting attacked by rock throwers and feared for his life, the Arizona Republic reported.

In April, he was acquitted of second-degree murder, but the jury was deadlocked on voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges.

On Wednesday, a federal jury in Tucson, Arizona, found Swartz not guilty of involuntary manslaughter but they were unable to reach a verdict on a voluntary manslaughter charge.

A judge has set a status conference on the case for Dec. 11 as prosecutors decide whether Swartz could be tried again, CNN affiliate the Arizona Daily Star newspaper reported.

The teen's family criticized the verdict and said they will keep fighting for justice.

"They are now allowing this man to get another job, get another gun and continue killing," the teen's grandmother Taide Elena told CNN affiliate KOLD.

It's unclear whether Swartz, who has been on administrative leave and living in Nevada since the incident, will return to his post, KOLD reported.

Agent still facing civil lawsuit

Swartz is also facing a civil rights lawsuit. The teen's mother, Araceli Rodríguez, is suing him for violating her son's constitutional rights.

The agent appealed on the grounds of qualified immunity but in August a federal appeals court said the boy deserved to be constitutionally protected against Swartz's use of deadly force, allowing the mother's claim to proceed.

"He did not throw rocks or engage in any violence or threatening behavior against anyone or anything," according to the court's ruling. "He was just walking down a street in Mexico."

Swartz also argued the Constitution doesn't protect José, who wasn't a US citizen and who wasn't shot in US territory.

The court's response: Swartz couldn't have known whether José was an American citizen when he shot him. Also, his unreasonable use of force took place on American soil.

"Just as Mexican law controls what people do there, American law controls what people do here," the ruling says.

Courts have faced similar decisions in cases surrounding the border.

In 2010, a 15-year-old Mexican boy, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, was playing with friends on the cement culvert that separates Texas from Mexico. A US Border Patrol agent shot and killed Sergio.

The boy's parents sued the agent six months later, but the court's ruling looked a bit different.

In that case, a federal appeals court said Sergio did not get constitutional protections on the other side of the border. And because of that, it said, his family couldn't sue the agent for violating his rights.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485230

Reported Deaths: 6554
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1006801585
Ramsey43047801
Dakota36254390
Anoka33274384
Washington22065255
Stearns18723201
St. Louis14794262
Scott13273107
Wright12517115
Olmsted1177988
Sherburne871572
Carver771040
Clay690387
Rice670091
Blue Earth593835
Kandiyohi579474
Crow Wing519681
Chisago498445
Otter Tail481870
Benton446190
Winona418049
Mower404131
Douglas392568
Nobles386847
Goodhue385568
Polk342762
McLeod339349
Beltrami337351
Morrison324247
Lyon313044
Itasca312746
Becker310941
Isanti305754
Carlton300149
Steele299711
Pine282016
Freeborn280523
Nicollet258141
Todd247830
Brown244637
Le Sueur235020
Mille Lacs227247
Cass219924
Waseca208917
Meeker207434
Martin189328
Wabasha18623
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15214
Renville149540
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134116
Wadena130920
Faribault122917
Aitkin118933
Sibley117310
Watonwan11728
Rock115714
Kanabec107419
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake73718
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68316
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Unassigned47968
Norman4768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362189

Reported Deaths: 5414
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58146549
Linn20653312
Scott18288207
Black Hawk16249291
Woodbury14961211
Johnson1383473
Dubuque13537194
Dallas1135890
Pottawattamie10765143
Story1021645
Warren555274
Clinton543284
Cerro Gordo533681
Webster518787
Marshall496272
Sioux494369
Buena Vista473236
Des Moines457661
Muscatine451191
Wapello4330108
Jasper416966
Plymouth394577
Lee375352
Marion359069
Jones294154
Henry292737
Carroll285548
Bremer280154
Crawford274735
Boone259630
Washington254147
Benton252854
Mahaska224346
Jackson221438
Dickinson217439
Tama213465
Kossuth208154
Clay193525
Hamilton192042
Delaware188839
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan185129
Fayette185035
Page183219
Hardin181039
Wright179731
Harrison179669
Cedar177923
Clayton168053
Butler166331
Mills163120
Floyd162740
Madison154518
Cherokee153935
Poweshiek153730
Hancock146829
Lyon145841
Allamakee145646
Iowa144423
Appanoose139147
Grundy139030
Jefferson138232
Winnebago138230
Cass134151
Calhoun133711
Mitchell130840
Louisa128241
Union126331
Chickasaw125213
Sac124218
Emmet121240
Shelby121033
Franklin118419
Humboldt117425
Guthrie116528
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard103121
Clarke100520
Unassigned9890
Keokuk98129
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida91032
Pocahontas85519
Davis82623
Monona81627
Greene77310
Lucas73821
Osceola70514
Worth6987
Taylor66412
Fremont5919
Decatur5789
Van Buren55918
Ringgold52020
Wayne48821
Audubon4869
Adams3264
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 10°
Mason City
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 11°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 12°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 7°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 7°
Mild conditions expected this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events