April 17, 2010 / 10:13 PM / 7 years ago

U.S. border agents shoot man at busy Mexico crossing

<p>A border patrol agent (L) kneels next to the body of a man lying in one lane on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro April 17, 2010.Jorge Duenes</p>

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at a border checkpoint fired on a man after he tried to drive into California from Mexico on Saturday, U.S. police said.

The pickup truck driver was heading north at the checkpoint between Tijuana and San Diego, the world's busiest land border, when he tried to flee after he could not present proper identification.

"The agent referred the driver to a secondary inspection and he quickly accelerated away," said Lieutenant Kevin Rooney of the San Diego police department, which is investigating the incident.

The man, who was described as a Latin American male about 50 years old, struck another vehicle and fixed objects as he tried to evade agents who eventually opened fire, Rooney said. The driver, who was not found to be armed, was treated Saturday at a San Diego hospital.

Three of the 24 lanes at the border crossing were closed through late afternoon as authorities investigated, witnesses said.

The busy San Ysidro transit point is typically congested with workers and other travelers but also is used by traffickers ferrying drugs and undocumented immigrants north while illegal weapons head south to arm bandits in Mexico's bloody drug war.

"Sometimes we get several incidents like this in a year and sometimes we can go a year without one," Rooney said.

In September, U.S. agents fired at three vans packed with about 70 illegal immigrants that tried to evade heavy security and cross into the United States. Three people in the vans and a motorist were wounded..

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Bill Trott

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