Political ties between Mexico and the U.S. have been shaky in recent months (e.g. arms smuggling, immigration). Relations could worsen, however, as a result of a pair of recent killings around the border region.
On Monday evening U.S. Border Patrol officers supposedly shot dead a fifteen-year-old Mexican teen below an international bridge connecting the Texan city of El Paso with Ciudad Juarez. According to an FBI statement, Sergio Adrian Hernandez was part of a group that had tried to illegally cross the border. Border Patrol agents encountered them, said the FBI, and the teens then tried throwing rocks at the officers. One of the agents subsequently opened fire and killed Hernandez reportedly with a near one of his eyes.
Mexican authorities energetically condemned the murder and accused the Border Patrol of using “excessive force”. "Using firearms to respond to an attack with rocks is a disproportionate use of force, particularly coming from a officials that are specially trained," said a statement from the Mexican Foreign Ministry. Moreover, a spokesman from the Chihuahua Attorney General's office alleged that the agents may’ve violated the agency’s own rules by crossing into Mexico.
While officials on both sides of the border attempt to figure out exactly what happened, Hernandez’ mother was disconsolate over the death of her son:
His mother, Maria Guadalupe Guereca, told Milenio TV in Mexico that her son had gone to visit his brother, who handles luggage at a border customs office. While there, he met up with a group of friends and they decided to hang out by the river, she said.Monday’s incident comes on the heels of the May 31st death of an undocumented Mexican illegal immigrant while under Border Patrol custody. Coroners ruled the killing of Hernandez Rojas a homicide after he was shot with a stun gun and hit with a baton. Doctors also noted that he had signs of “methamphetamine abuse and high blood pressure” that could’ve contributed to his fatal heart attack.
"That was his mistake, to have gone to the river," she said. "That's why they killed him."
She said he ran and hid underneath one of the bridge's pillars upon hearing gunfire.
"He was a boy, and even then they killed him," she said. "I ask that they punish them. ... They left me without anything."
Image- CBS News (“U.S. border patrol agents examine the area near where Mexican citizen Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca was killed under the Paso Del Norte border bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.”)
Online Sources- New York Times, BBC News, AP, CNN