Who was Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez?
On October 10, 2012, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16 year-old Mexican resident was shot ten times, 8 of which were in the back, by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent Lonnie Ray Swartz. Although former agent Swartz alleges that Jose and friends were throwing rocks over the border wall into the U.S., the geographical location of the incident tells another story. Witnesses said he was just walking down the street.
The indictment of Lonnie Ray Swartz is the first time in the history of the country when an agent has been charged with a cross-border shooting.
The Family Sues
In July 2015, Jose’s family filed a civil suit against Swartz in U.S. District Court in Tucson. A U.S. District Court ruled that even though Jose was standing in Mexico when he was killed, he was entitled to protections of the Fourth Amendment. On March 2, 2020 the Supreme Court returned the cross-border shooting case to an appellate court in California, due to a recent ruling by the court to dismiss charges in a similar case, the Sergio Adrian Hernandez-Guereca case.