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Border Patrol kills suspect

Times Staff Writer

U.S. Border Patrol Agents fatally shot a suspected smuggler last week in a confrontation outside an Indian casino in east San Diego County.

Ronald Deugan, 49, was driving a pickup truck loaded with five suspected illegal immigrants Feb. 1 when agents attempted to stop his vehicle outside the Golden Acorn Casino, said Lt. Dennis Brugos of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Several agents were approaching the truck on foot when Deugan accelerated and steered the vehicle toward them, Brugos said. Three agents opened fire, hitting him and a passenger in the front seat.

Deugan, who was shot in the head, died Sunday night, according to the San Diego County medical examiner’s office. The other man was hospitalized for wounds that were not life-threatening.

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The shooting, which the Border Patrol did not make public, comes in the midst of a wave of assaults against Border Patrol agents as smugglers take more aggressive measures to get people and drugs across a tightened border.

Last month, an agent trying to throw a spike strip in front of a smuggler’s Hummer was run over and killed in southeastern California. In east San Diego County, smugglers routinely avoid agents and checkpoints by making reckless, high-speed runs down freeways and highways.

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richard.marosi@latimes.com

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