EAGLE PASS, Texas — A US Border Patrol agent tipped off that a pickup truck was carrying a suspicious payload shot and killed the teenage driver, who was apparently unarmed, after a brief struggle, authorities said yesterday.
Juan Mendez, an 18-year-old from Eagle Pass, died at Fort Duncan Medical Center shortly after the shooting Tuesday, Maverick County Chief Deputy Sheriff Ruben Cano said.
Border Patrol sensors showed that the truck Mendez was driving was carrying suspicious cargo, Cano said. Witnesses said an agent, whose identity has not been disclosed, stopped the vehicle shortly after 9 a.m. and began to question Mendez, he said.
A 15-year-old boy fled from truck, and Mendez also tried to get away but briefly struggled with the agent, Cano said. Mendez broke free and the agent shot him twice, the chief deputy said. No evidence was found that Mendez was armed, he said.
Investigators found 325 pounds of marijuana in the truck, Cano said.
The 15-year-old was taken into juvenile custody. His name and charges were being withheld because of his age.
Border Patrol agents are allowed to use lethal force under certain circumstances, and investigators from the FBI, the
Dennis Smith, the Border Patrol’s spokesman in Del Rio, did not respond to a phone message yesterday seeking comment.
The incident is the second deadly shooting of an unarmed teen by the Border Patrol in four months. A Border Patrol agent in El Paso shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican boy on June 7. Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca was among a group of people in the bed of the Rio Grande who were throwing rocks at the agents.