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US won't pursue charges in border agent shooting

Associated Press Modified: April 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm •  Published: April 27, 2012

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Federal prosecutors said Friday there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges against a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the shooting death of a 15-year-old Mexican national in 2010.

The agent didn't act inconsistently with Border Patrol policy or training regarding the use of force in the death of Sergio Hernandez-Guereca, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement announcing the decision, which was quickly denounced by the Mexican government.

U.S. authorities have said the agent shot Hernandez while trying to arrest illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande on June 7, 2010. Some witnesses said people on the Mexican side of the river, including Hernandez, were throwing rocks at the agent. Border agents are generally allowed to use lethal force against rock throwers.

The shooting occurred under one of the border bridges in El Paso, and it was recorded by an eyewitness with a cellphone.

The Mexican government issued a statement saying it "profoundly regrets and expresses its strong opposition to the decision" and was considering its next step. Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan had a similar reaction to the decision, tweeting: "Mexico strongly rejects it."

The U.S. Justice Department also concluded that no federal civil rights charges could be pursued, saying that "accident, mistake, misperception, negligence and bad judgment were not sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation."

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