Agent shot at unarmed suspect nine times during deadly chase - Tucson News Now

Agent shot at unarmed suspect nine times during deadly chase

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Border Patrol agent who shot at a suspect in Green Valley Friday night fired nine times, and investigators said a bullet that struck behind Jose Luis Arambula's left ear killed him.

Lieutenant David Theel, Violent Crimes Commander for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, said statements from the scene have Arambula turning toward the agents chasing him and "punching out." The term refers to someone using two hands to push out a weapon as if to fire it.

"If he's punching out he probably has a weapon," said Art Del Cueto, president of the local Border Patrol union.

But investigators found no weapons on Arambula or at the scene of the shooting Friday, according to Theel.

Monday night, Reverend Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd United Church of Christ said he hopes the agency will use this incident as a new beginning. He said years of similar incidents with no transparency or communication with the community has eroded the trust.

"The Border Patrol has not lived up to those best policing practices," Mayer said. "We would really like to see them use this as an opportunity to be very vigorous and build that trust with the community."

Mayer said he would like to see the agency follow through with recommendations made to Border Patrol in a recently released report on use of force. The report mentions that most agents do not have adequate access to less than lethal equipment.

Investigators said they believed the responding agents did not have less than lethal weapons, but could not confirm. Del Cueto said he wasn't positive either, but believed the agents were carrying batons.

The agent who fired on Arambula was roughly 60-70 feet away, according to investigators. Del Cueto said he's not sure less than lethal equipment would have changed the outcome.

"In that situation it's hard to say or second guess," he said. "Sometimes the less than lethal equipment that you have on your person is not the solution."

Deputies in Pima County arrested Arambula during a similar chase in April and found bales of marijuana in his car as well. Del Cueto said there should be some concern that Arambula was released.

"If this individual had been arrested in April why was he already on the streets," he said. "I mean that's a huge deal for me, just as a private citizen." 

When asked if the agent involved had returned to work or is still on leave, Border Patrol would not comment.

Sheriff's detectives continue to investigate.

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