A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent has been found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2012 shooting death of a 16-year-old Mexican national through the border fence. The teen, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, was throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents at the border near Nogales, Ariz., with a group of other people when Agent Lonnie Swartz fired 16 rounds in 34 seconds, striking the boy eight times in the back and twice in the head.
“My client is very relieved. He has had to live with the burden of this case hanging over his head for years. He is glad that it is finally over,” Swartz’s attorney, Sean Chapman, told the Associated Press.
One demonstrator was reportedly arrested outside the Tucson, Ariz., courthouse. It is unclear if Swartz, who has been on administrative leave, will return to the Border Patrol.
Thrown rocks pose a danger to Border Patrol agents. Last year, a CBP officer was seriously injured when a softball-sized rock struck his chest, forcing his vehicle to turn over.