Border Patrol Agent shoots and kills 19 year old in El Paso, Texas (USA)
Date: 3/26/2003 9:55:49 PM Pacific Standard Time
Border Patrol Agent shoots and kills 19 year old in El Paso, Texas (USA)
by Redwood Sky Wednesday February 26, 2003 at 10:44 PM
Border Patrol agent shot and killed a 19 year old Mexicano in El
Last weekend (2/22/03) a 19 year old was shot to death by a border
patrol agent in El Paso, TX - this incident has not gotten much press
outside of the border area of El Paso/Juarez -
following is a report of what took place - given the issues around
"homeland security" the "patriot act" etc. in the USA -it is important
that this news gets out far and wide - please forward this to human
rights groups , and immigrant and refugee groups, and to social
movements around the world -
margaret@... for more information, and/or to express
support, solidarity, concern, suggestions, and ideas -
to learn more about Annunciation House see:
At about 9 AM on Saturday, February 22, a guest from
Annunciation House was shot and killed by a Border Patrol (BP)
Agent. The guest was a 19 year old from Mexicali, Baja California,
Mexico whose name is Juan Patricio Peraza Guijada.
Juan Patricio was initially stopped by two US BP Agents who drove
onto the parking lot of Annunciation House in an unmarked BP
vehicle. Both of the agents were dressed in their BP uniform. On
the parking lot, Juan Patricio was encountered and questioned by
one of the BP agents. The other agent walked over to talk to a
couple of other guests who were by the back wall of Annunciation
House. The agent questioning Juan Patricio proceeded to ask him
to place his hands on the unmarked BP vehicle so as to be able to
physically search Juan Patricio. As this was happening, Kerry
Doyle, who had been asked to come over from Casa Teresa by AH
volunteers because of BP's presence, arrived on the parking lot and
asked the BP Agent what was going on. When the agent
questioning Juan Patricio took a few steps toward Kerry to speak
with her, Juan Patricio took off running, heading East on San
Antonio Street. One of the agents then followed Juan Patricio on
foot and the other agent got into the car, radioed for back-up and
also went in pursuit of Juan Patricio.
As Juan Patricio ran down San Antonio street, BP says that Juan
Patricio came across a ladder which BP says Juan Patricio threw
at the BP agent in pursuit of him and that then Juan Patricio picked
up a 6 to 8 foot pipe which BP says he used to swing at the BP
agent, threatening the agents life. The agent then fired in self
defense, killing Juan Patricio. The local chief of BP stated later in
the day that based on the information he had, the shooting, as
regrettable as it may have been, was a justified shooting because
the BP agent acted in self defense.
Witnesses tell a different story. Juan Patricio did pick up a pipe
that was 4 to 5 feet in length. Very quickly after the BP agent on
the parking lot of Annunciation House radioed for back-up,
numerous marked BP vehicles arrived on San Antonio Street with
their lights flashing. The BP vehicles blocked San Antonio Street
and the BP agents in those vehicles got out of their vehicles
forming what witnesses describe as a semi-circle facing East on
San Antonio Street. Witnesses state that at this point, Juan
Patricio was in the middle of San Antonio Street with this semi-
circle of BP agents facing him. Witnesses say that Juan Patricio
was holding the pipe on his shoulder and that he was not swinging
the pipe at anyone nor was he threatening anyone. Witnesses
state that there were between 6 and 8 BP agents in the semi-circle
and that one of them fired. In television interviews, witnesses have
stated that there was no need for BP to have fired, some went to
far as to say during interviews that Juan Patricio was killed in "cold
Some points and questions to keep in mind:
1. Because a BP agent had stopped and searched Juan Patricio
on Annunciation House's parking lot, that BP agent knew that Juan
Patricio was unarmed, carrying no weapon at that moment.
2. Witnesses state that from 3 to 5 BP vehicles arrived almost
immediately after back-up was called. How was it that so many BP
vehicles "happened" to be in the area at that time. There is
indication that BP was undertaking some type of undercover
operation and that that explains the presence of BP in the area.
3. BP agents had time to get out of their vehicles, were present in
significant numbers, Juan Patricio did not swing at them, why was
it necessary to shoot him?
4. Less then 24 hours after the shooting, BP had already
characterized the shooting as a justified shooting, an act of self
defense by a BP agent who felt his life or the lives of other agents
threatened. How is it possible to characterize a shooting when the
investigation is barely starting, much less complete?
5. BP has a publicly stated policy of not harassing or interfering
with the standard day to day operations of social service agencies.
What was an unmarked BP vehicle doing at Annunciation House
and then driving onto the parking lot?
After the shooting, the El Paso Police Department (EPPD)
launched its own investigation. As part of the canvassing of the
neighborhood for witnesses, they came to Annunciation House to
speak with Annunciation House guests to see if any of them had
seen anything that might be relevant. At the request of EPPD, 8
guests were voluntarily transported to the main offices of the EPPD
to have their statements given. EPPD gave categorical assurances
to the 8 guests that they would be taken to the station and then
returned to Annunciation House. While at the EPPD station, BP
interfered with the witnesses, attempting to determine the legal
status of the witnesses for purposes of deporting them.
Annunciation House (AH) was notified of this. AH then proceeded
to contact lawyers with the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights
under Law, Texas Rural Legal Aid and Diocesan Migrant and
Refugee Services. The lawyers succeeded in preventing BP from
questioning the majority of the witnesses. There is no question but
that had the attorneys not been there, the witnesses would have
been deported. One of the witnesses was questioned, she was
detained by BP and transported to the INS Detention Processing
Center. One of the attorney's succeeded in getting her released but
not until after she had been placed in proceedings.
1. Given that a shooting resulting in a death had just taken place
and eye witnesses were in the process of having their statements
taken, why was BP so intent on determining the legal status of
those witnesses and why was BP so intent on deporting those
witnesses if it was determined that they might be witnesses to the
2. How is it that BP agents had access to witnesses at the EPPD
in the midst of an EPPD shooting investigation when BP was a
party to the shooting?
3. How was it that a witness, at the EPPD station, transported
there by EPPD with assurances that the witness would be returned
to her place of residence, ended up in the custody of BP?
Since the shooting, the Mexican consulate has publicly
characterized the shooting as unwarranted, use of excessive force
and calling it comparable to a homicide. The Consulate is
forwarding the necessary paperwork to the Mexican Embassy in
Washington so that a formal request can be made of the US
government requesting an official investigation of the shooting. The
Mexican Consulate has contacted Juan Patricio's family in Mexico
and has arranged for the transportation of Juan Patricio's body to
Mexico for burial.
On Wednesday, a meeting of local legal and social service
agencies will be held to move forward on two fronts: First is the
establishment of a local monitoring group to take on the
responsibility of monitoring the investigative process to insure that
the investigation proceeds in a totally transparent manner. In
addition, to initiate an investigation of BP's practices, especially in
light of homeland security mandates.
The second front is that of planning for a public mass in memory of
Juan Patricio on Saturday, March 8th at 2:00 PM. The mass will be
held on San Antonio Street by where he was killed.
Given the issues involved, it is important that the shooting be given
the greatest possible visibility. It is important that individuals make
information about the shooting known to human rights
organizations throughout the country and that requests be made for
investigations. It is important that the media be asked about the
shooting so as to encourage investigative reporting by them.
In the midst of all of this, the shooting has raised concerns about
the ability of Annunciation House to continue its work of hospitality
with immigrants, refugees and the undocumented. It is important
that BP's practices be investigated and that they be required to
abide by their own guidelines in regards the operation of social
Ruben L Garcia
Hello again everyone,
The grand jury is meeting tomorrow -- the Mexican Consul if providing
transportation for the guests in their "diplomatic" vehicles. The guests
who are testifying had been very concerned that the Border Patrol would
try to deport them after testifying. It sounds as if the testimony will
take two days. It has become a very high profile case in Juarez (Mexico)
( El Diario has front page coverage).
Below are 3 actions for volunteers and friends who wish to support the
guests and Annunciation House at this time:
1) Writing letters to your members of congress and Senators. You can
mention the shooting and say that you would like the shooting to be
2) A memorial mass will be held on March 8 in honor of Juan Patricio. If
you are in the area, it would be wonderful if you could come. Please
invite friends and anyone who would like to come. I will pass on more
details as I get them. Those who live far away and can't attend might
consider Heather Schaub's suggestion of fasting for the day in honor of
the life of Juan Patricio.
3) The coverage of the shooting on the El Paso side of the border has
been rather low-profile. We would like to take out a full-page ad in the
El Paso Times to invite people to the March 8 memorial mass and also to
make people aware of what has happened. If volunteers and friends would
like to contribute, you can send them to
815 Myrtle Ave.
El Paso TX 79901
Please make sure you note that your contribution is for the ad or in
memory of Juan Patricio.
The letters to members of congress could also mention something about
Homeland Security -- and how we hope this Border Patrol shooting is not
a reflection of a change in policy or a result of supposed Homeland
Security. I am sure that you all can phrase it much better than that.
It's getting late and I am less than articulate. If anyone has
suggestions or would like to offer a sample letter, that would be great.
I'll work on one tomorrow.
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