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Border agents fired fatal shots after migrant grabbed weapon, FBI says

Migrants walk along the border wall after crossing into El Paso from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Sept. 22. (Paul Ratje/Bloomberg News)

A Mexican man who was shot fatally inside a Border Patrol station in Texas this week had grabbed an “edged weapon” off a desk inside the facility and continued to approach U.S. agents after they attempted to stop him with a Taser, the FBI said in a statement late Wednesday.

Border Patrol agents then opened fire at 33-year-old Manuel González Morán. He was taken to the hospital and later died from the injuries, according to the statement.

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon inside the Ysleta U.S. Border Patrol station near El Paso. Morán was found carrying a metal pipe in his hand when he was taken into custody by U.S. agents and detained for illegally reentering the United States, according to the FBI.

Moran “complied with Agents” at that time, the statement said.

“Once at the station, Moran later charged out of a holding cell past an USBP Agent and grabbed an edged weapon off a desk in the processing area,” the FBI said.

According to the FBI account, “Agents provided verbal commands and attempted to gain control by utilizing non-deadly force methods, specifically taser, which was unsuccessful. Agents continued providing verbal commands. However, Moran continued to advance upon them with the edged weapon at which time he was shot by Agents.”

The weapon was a pair of scissors, according to one person with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to discuss the findings. A security camera in the room was not functioning at the time of the incident, the person said.

The FBI statement said Moran was arrested in Pueblo, Colo., in 2011 on charges of attempted first-degree murder, and was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon resulting in serious bodily injury. He served 11 years of a 17-year prison term and was deported to Mexico in May 2022, the FBI said Thursday, correcting a previous statement issued by the bureau indicating Moran illegally reentered the United States in March.

The FBI said it is investigating the shooting jointly with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency’s internal affairs division.

As of Sept. 14, CBP had recorded 17 use-of-force incidents by agency personnel using their firearms during the government’s 2022 fiscal year, according to the agency’s most recent statistics. There were 15 such incidents in 2021.

In February, a Border Patrol agent fatally shot a Mexican man, 32-year-old Carmelo Cruz Marcos, in a remote Arizona canyon near the Mexican border. Prosecutors who reviewed the case declined to bring charges against the agent, saying he acted in self-defense.

Border Patrol stations are secure facilities used to process and detain migrants who are taken into custody after entering the United States illegally. Agents staffing the facilities typically carry their firearms at all times.