Independent look at autopsy report in Border Patrol shooting - Tucson News Now

Independent analysis of autopsy report in Nogales Border Patrol shooting

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

An autopsy report is raising more questions in the death of a Mexican teenager, shot by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was killed last October on the Mexico side of the border.

The Border Patrol says an agent fired in the direction of people who were throwing rocks at the agents as the agents were chasing suspected drug smugglers.

The autopsy report contains new details on what may have happened, but not a clear picture.

The autopsy was signed by two doctors in Nogales, Sonora.

The shooting happened along the border in Nogales, west of downtown Nogales, Arizona.

Border Patrol agents were on the U.S. side of the border fence,

Rodriguez was on the Mexico side.

The U.S. Side is a couple a dozen feet higher than the Mexico side.

It's a steep drop off.

An independent expert, Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Hess took a look at their report.

Dr. Hess says, according to the autopsy report, it appears Rodriguez was shot nine to 11 times, and mostly in the back with the bullets taking an upward trajectory.

"If the story is correct in that someone was shooting from a height, downward from an angle, and the trajectories through the body were correct, then one would imagine that the body either must have been laying down on the ground, you know, face down in order for that to happen or some other scenario in order to get a bullet to travel through the body in that trajectory," says Dr. Hess.

Dr. Hess says, however, there's no way of knowing in what order the bullets struck, which one might have knocked Rodriguez down, and which might have hit when he was on the ground.

Hess says there also could be other explanations for the autopsy report's conclusion about the angle of the wounds.

"Well, sometimes people confuse an entrance and an exit gunshot wound. So clearly, if the exits are really entrances then the trajectories would be completely the opposite," Hess says.

Hess says this is a complex case because of the number of wounds, and there's no way to corroborate the autopsy report.

He says, from his point of view, it's difficult to draw conclusions because there are several unknowns.

"We haven't produced the report ourselves. We haven't seen photographs, haven't seen the body and don't really know the people that produced the report," Hess says.

A Border Patrol spokesman told KOLD News 13 the agency cannot comment on the autopsy since the incident still is under investigation.

The FBI is conducting that investigation.

A call to an FBI spokesman has not yet been returned.

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