U.S. citizen, 61, dies in custody at San Ysidro border crossing

Authorities said there was a struggle between the man and Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry

A 61-year-old man died Sunday evening in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody after a struggle with customs officers and security personnel at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, authorities said Monday.

The man, a U.S. citizen whose name was not released, was detained about 9:15 p.m. Sunday when he apparently attempted to walk into the U.S. from Mexico through the exit doors of the pedestrian processing building, according to a statement from San Diego Police Lt. Andra Brown.

In a statement, Customs and Border Protection officials said the man tried to walk into a restricted area, and was “non-compliant with instructions and exhibited abnormal behavior” when officers tried to stop him.

Brown said the man was uncooperative when security personnel redirected him to the building’s entrance and “a struggle ensued.”


Authorities provided no details about the nature of the struggle, or whether authorities used force against the man.

After border officers and security staff took the man into custody and moved him to a detention area, he “began to have difficulty breathing,” according to Brown.

A few minutes after putting him in a detention cell, officers noticed the man was unresponsive, called for help and began rendering medical aid, according to the statement. When San Diego firefighters arrived, they took over and attempted to revive the man.

He died at the scene, Brown said.

The San Diego Police Department’s homicide unit is investigating the death, as it does for all in-custody deaths in the city of San Diego.

“When the homicide unit completes [its] investigation, it will be reviewed by the United States attorney’s office,” according to Brown, a member of the homicide unit.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility will also review the incident.