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Border Patrol agent shoots at man throwing rocks

Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 20:34:37-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Chief Patrol Agent with the Tucson Sector of Border Patrol gave new details Wednesday about a shooting involving an agent. 

Paul Beeson said the incident happened Tuesday just after 4p.m. in a remote area near Cowlic, AZ on the Tohono O'Odham reservation. 

He said a number of agents were tracking a group of suspected drug smugglers. When the agents approached the suspects, one of them took off. 

One of the agents followed the fleeing suspect, according to Beeson. 

"The suspect stopped, picked up some rocks and began throwing them at the agent while making verbal threats," said Beeson. That is when he said the agent shot his gun at the suspect two times. 

The suspect was not hit and fled once again, but he was caught and arrested after a brief chase. 

The agents also arrested two other suspects. They found more than 240 pounds of marijuana with them. 

The suspect who allegedly threw rocks at the agent was found to be a Honduran national who had already been deported once. He faces pending charges of Re-entry after Deportation, Narcotics Smuggling and possible Assault charges depending on the outcome of an investigation by the FBI.

The CBP Office of Professional Responsibility is doing a separate investigation into the agent's actions. 

"There's various levels of force that agents are allowed to employ depending upon the circumstances and then of course their perception of what the threat is at the time. Agents go through extensive training at the Border Patrol Academy. There is extensive training that takes place throughout their career on a quarterly basis," said Beeson.

The agent's identity is not being released as the investigation is ongoing, but Beeson said he is a 12-year veteran who is on administrative leave pending the investigation results.