Such a tragedy: a 19-year-old man, Carlos La Madrid, was fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent after he climbed a ladder on the U.S.-Mexico border fence in southeastern Arizona on March 21, 2011. The mother, Guadalupe Guerrero, is now suing the federal government and the agent who shot her son, Lucas Tidwell, saying that the act was “an appalling use of excessive force.”
Border Patrol spokesman Mario Escalante declined to comment, citing the pending case against Tidwell, according to the Associated Press.
La Madrid was shot three times – twice in the back and once in the thigh – and died five hours later in the hospital. There are allegations that the truck he was riding in carried marijuana. A police report showed that officers were responding to a tip about a car loading drugs, when they tried to stop La Madrid and his companion, 17-year-old Jesus Manuel Chino Lino. La Madrid was driving.
After a chase, their vehicles collided, and the two ran from the police, climbing the wall. At the same time, a man sitting on the wall began throwing rocks at Tidwell’s vehicle, hitting the windshield.
That’s when the shots were fired. Police reported finding a burlap sack of marijuana weighing 48 pounds in La Madrid’s car. It’s unclear whether Tidwell is still technically an agent, or what measures have been taken against him internally.
Guerrero told reporters: "I say he didn't have drugs, but let's suppose he did. Let's suppose he had 40 pounds of marijuana. You think that's dangerous enough to kill a young boy, an American citizen? Why not send him to jail?"
Her attorney, Rick Gonzales, said that the agent was “grossly negligent.”
"It's a hugely, hugely tragic case," he said. "You don't shoot a 19-year-old kid in the back three times who's running from you in a marijuana case."
What do you think? Should Guerrero push for these suits, or leave the trial alone?