Aug 9, 2013 8:11 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Feds close probes into 2 Arizona border shootings

TUCSON - Federal authorities say they won't pursue criminal charges against U.S. Border Patrol agents involved in separate 2011 fatal shootings in southern Arizona.

17-year-old Ramses Barron-Torres was shot and killed at the international boundary fence in Nogales in the early-morning hours of Jan. 5, 2011. He was reportedly throwing rocks at agents who were trying to thwart drug-smuggling attempts.

19-year-old Carlos LaMadrid was shot and killed in Douglas on March 21, 2011. Douglas police say LaMadrid was seen loading bundles of drugs into a vehicle and failed to stop when pursued by officers.

"Two people died," says Juanita Molina of Border Action Network.

And Molina says their deaths aren't receiving the investigations they deserve. "This is a situation which definitely deserves investigation and we're disappointed the system didn't respond adequately to this," Molina says.

The Justice Department says its decisions were based on facts developed during independent and comprehensive investigations into the incidents. The department says while the loss of life "is regrettable", the facts don't support reason to press charges against the agents.

"Not only is it a dishonor to these people who have lost their loved ones, but it also takes away from the work that law enforcement does in our community and our society," Molina says. " If it's felt that law enforcement does not play a role, then what respect can they have?"

The Justice Department also says in Barron-Torres' case, he was shot in Mexico, which makes it a tough case to prosecute.

That doesn't sit well with the lawyer for 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.

He was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in Mexico in October 2012. "If in this case they're going to take the same position, that means the case for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez matter will not be prosecuted based on the criminal rights statute violation," Attorney Luis Parra told News 4 Tucson over the phone.

News 4 Tucson reached out to Border Patrol for reaction on the decision made to close both cases. News 4 Tucson has not heard back.


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