US agent named in suit over Mexican teen death

AP News
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 5:13 PM
US agent named in suit over Mexican teen death

The family of a 15-year-old Mexican boy fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent is now naming the officer as part of its lawsuit against the federal government, a family lawyer said Friday.

Bob Hilliard told the The Associated Press that the agent is Jesus Mesa Jr., whose last name has also been spelled Meza.

"This allows us to identify the shooter, we hope we can get his history," Hilliard said in a phone interview.

The Corpus Christi, Texas-based lawyer says he is trying to establish such facts as whether the agent had been previously reprimanded for using his weapon or if he had a history of violent outbursts.

An attorney for the agent, Randolph Ortega, has denied wrongdoing. Ortega did not immediately return a message Friday to The Associated Press. The U.S. Border Patrol has not replied several emails requesting information on the agent who allegedly shot the boy.

Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was killed in June 2010. U.S. investigators have said the agent was trying to arrest illegal immigrants who crossed into the U.S. when he came under attack from rock throwers.

Hilliard says the teen was unarmed and did not threaten Mesa.

Local media have reported that the family is demanding $25 million in compensation. Hilliard said they put a $10 million dollar request when they initially filed the suit but could ask the jury for more.

Hilliard also said that in an eye witness video, additional Border Patrol agents are seen arriving at the scene of the shooting. They left along with Mesa, without checking if the boy needed medical assistance.

"No matter what, if you think you have a right to shoot him, you should go and see if they need first aid," Hilliard said.

The amended wrongful death lawsuit, filed Wednesday in El Paso, updates documents from January.

Federal arrest records obtained by The Associated Press shortly after the June 7, 2010, shooting showed the boy had been arrested at least four times since 2008 and twice in the same week in February 2009 on suspicion of smuggling illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. However, he was never charged with a crime.