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Border Patrol Shoots, Kills Suspected Bandit at California Border

Border Patrol Shoots, Kills Suspected Bandit at California Border

A U.S. Border Patrol agent monitors from a vehicle a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Otay Mesa between San Diego and Tijuana in San Diego County, Calif., on Jan. 12, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

3/5/2024

Updated: 3/12/2024

U.S. Border Patrol agents shot and killed a suspected bandit who reportedly robbed other illegal immigrants near San Diego as they crossed into California from Mexico on March 3, according to the National Border Patrol Council.
The incident is under investigation, Brandon Judd, president of the union representing Border Patrol agents, told Fox News. The person who died at the scene was not identified.
According to Mr. Judd’s account, the suspected robber was a member of a “rip crew,” which are groups of illegal immigrants who prey on other people crossing into the United States. The criminals are one of the more dangerous elements along the border, he said.
“These are some of the most dangerous aspects of doing the job of a Border Patrol agent, Mr. Judd said. “Anytime you’re dealing with these, you know that you’re going in and dealing with people that are armed and dangerous.”
Rip crews have become more prevalent, especially as illegal immigrants continue to arrive in large numbers at the California border, he said. In the past, these groups would attempt to conceal their activities from the Border Patrol, but they have become more bold, Mr. Judd added.
“These people have become so emboldened that they’re doing it right in front of our cameras,” Mr. Judd said. “They’re doing it while people are right on the border. So, we’re actually getting all of the footage on this.”
The Border Patrol dispatched one of its BORTEC units—a specialty unit that responds to emergency and high-risk incidents that require special skills and tactics—to the area to deal with the increase in rip crews, according to Mr. Judd.
One of the members of the unit engaged in a shoot-out with the suspected robber, which resulted in the man’s death.
Bandits at the U.S.-Mexico border who allegedly were waiting for a group of illegal immigrants to cross and then pointed a gun at them, on Feb. 25, 2024. The groups are becoming more emboldened lately, according to the National Border Patrol Council. (Courtesy of the U.S. Border Patrol)

Bandits at the U.S.-Mexico border who allegedly were waiting for a group of illegal immigrants to cross and then pointed a gun at them, on Feb. 25, 2024. The groups are becoming more emboldened lately, according to the National Border Patrol Council. (Courtesy of the U.S. Border Patrol)

Bandits at the U.S.-Mexico border who allegedly were waiting for a group of illegal immigrants to cross and then pointed a gun at them, on Feb. 25, 2024. The groups are becoming more emboldened lately, according to the National Border Patrol Council. (Courtesy of the U.S. Border Patrol)

Bandits at the U.S.-Mexico border who allegedly were waiting for a group of illegal immigrants to cross and then pointed a gun at them, on Feb. 25, 2024. The groups are becoming more emboldened lately, according to the National Border Patrol Council. (Courtesy of the U.S. Border Patrol)

On Feb. 25, the Border Patrol caught surveillance photos of suspected robbers near Chula Vista, California, waiting for a group of illegal immigrants to cross, and then pointing a gun at them. The photos were released on Facebook.
“Fortunately, nobody was hurt,” the Border Patrol wrote on Facebook Feb. 27. “Yet another example of the very real dangers these criminals [and] smugglers pose to the public, the migrants, and our agents.”
In January, about 24,700 illegal immigrants were counted crossing into San Diego, and another 1,100 crossed in the El Centro sector in California, according to the Border Patrol’s latest data. Tucson reported more than 50,500 illegal immigrant encounters that month.
Requests for comment from the Border Patrol and the National Border Patrol Council were not returned by press time.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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