San Diego

A border confrontation ended with the fatal shooting of two suspected bandits by members of the Border Crime Prevention Unit, who mistook a toy gun one of the men held for a loaded weapon, San Diego police reported Wednesday.

The incident occurred just before 10 p.m. Tuesday in Spring Canyon, about three-quarters of a mile east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, police said. Five Border Patrol and San Diego police officers patrolling the area, in which there had been a series of robberies of illegal aliens, confronted two men on a trail, Lt. Dave Elliott said.

Elliott said one man yelled for the others not to move as he drew what appeared to be a semiautomatic handgun from his waist. Two officers fired on the man with the gun as a second man lunged at an officer with what appeared to be a knife, police reported.

Three of the five officers fired at the man with the knife, knocking him to the ground. One of the men died at the scene, and the other was taken by Life Flight to UCSD Medical Center, where he died at 11:45 p.m., according to police.


Neither man has been identified, Elliott said, but police said the men’s descriptions fit those of two men suspected of a Nov. 29 robbery in the same area.

None of the officers was injured. Police found after the incident that the handgun held by the man who confronted police was fake, Elliott said. A pair of scissors and a knife were found in the other man’s possession, he said.

Homicide detectives are investigating the incident, Elliott said, and the Police Department’s internal affairs unit and the San Diego County district attorney will review the case.