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Mexico Renews Protest in Shooting at Border : Second Diplomatic Note Attacks U.S Response to Wounding of Boy by Agent

Times Staff Writer

The Mexican government has delivered a second diplomatic note to the U.S. State Department protesting the April 18 shooting of a 12-year-old boy on Mexican soil by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

“We consider this a very grave matter,” Agustin Gutierrez, chief spokesman for the Mexican Foreign Ministry, said Friday. “The United States has sought to downplay its importance, but we believe it transcends the run-of-the-mill border incidents.”

A diplomatic note is an official means of communication between governments.

Gutierrez said it was “extraordinary” for a government to send two such notes, but that it was necessary because the incident remains unresolved.

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“The fact of the matter is that no American, no Cuban, no Russian-no one-has any right to fire at a Mexican citizen within Mexican territory, and this is precisely what occurred here,” Gutierrez maintained.

The victim of the shooting, Humberto Carrillo Estrada, a resident of Tijuana barrio called La Libertad, was shot after he allegedly threw rocks at Border Patrol agents who had arrested his 15-year-old brother.

Edward D.(Ned) Cole, the agent who fired the shot, was shifted to office duties but was exonerated of criminal wrongdoing by the district attorney.

The first Mexican protest note, delivered April 24, asked for compensation for the child and punishment of Cole. The State Department responded on May 20 with a note saying Cole had been exonerated, because he had acted in defense of a fellow agent threatened by the rock-throwing.

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Like the first note, the second note raised the question of indemnity and punishment of Cole.

“All we have (from the United States) is this note saying Cole was acting in defense of his partner, which is a ridiculous argument,” Gutierrez insisted.

“The child threw two rocks over the fence, and they shot him,” he said. “That’s absolutely abusive and it also happens to be a serious international incident.”

State Department officials in Washington declined to discuss the issue, but they acknowledged receipt of the two Mexican notes.

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