‘Gun battle’ involving U.S. border agents kills one in San Diego County near Mexico border

U.S. Border Patrol agents ride ATVs across land filled with shrubs and grass.
U.S. Border Patrol agents ride ATVs across land owned by National Enterprises Inc. on Sept. 25, 2007. The undeveloped land butts up against the U.S.-Mexico border fence east of the Otay Mesa, Calif., port of entry. Border patrol agents engaged in a gun battle with a robbery crew early Sunday.
(Los Angeles Times)

One person was killed near the U.S.-Mexico border in remote San Diego County early Sunday, in what one border agent described as an exchange of gunfire involving U.S. border agents and a crew aiming to rob migrants.

The shooting involved a special operations team for the U.S. Border Patrol and what the federal agency called an armed individual, who died at the scene. The person who died was not identified. A statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not say if anyone else was wounded, and a spokesperson did not respond to questions about any further injuries.

It wasn’t immediately clear who or how many people fired weapons, but Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, described the incident on Fox News as a “gun battle.” The shooting occurred about 7 a.m. Sunday in a remote area east of the Otay Mesa port of entry, according to a statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


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The statement provided few other details, except that multiple agencies responded to the scene to investigate the shooting, including the FBI, the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

But Judd, who leads the union that represents thousands of border agents, compared the situation to the 2010 shootout that killed border patrol agent Brian Terry. He called Sunday’s incident a clash between federal agents and a heavily armed group, known as a”rip crew,” which look to rob migrants. He said these robbery crews have recently become more brazen in their attacks, which is why the special operations team had been in the area.

“They’re doing it right in front of our cameras,” Judd said in the Fox News interview. “We’ve had several incidents where rip crews have been robbing and stealing from migrants right in front of the camera.”

Another border patrol official recently shared photos on social platform X, formerly known as Twitter, from border patrol cameras near Chula Vista, which he said showed “armed bandits robbing several groups as they attempted to enter the country illegally.”

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not respond to questions about Judd’s characterization of the incident.

The situation at the border has become an increasingly critical issue for the 2024 presidential election, as the number of people illegally crossing into the U.S. continues to soar, overtaxing the nation’s immigration system, as well as cities and state across the nation.