U.S. border patrol changes its story about why its officer killed an unarmed woman

“There are many people that have been treated like animals."

A U.S. Border Patrol agent watches over detained immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border on August 16, 2016 in Roma, Texas.  CREDIT: John Moore
A U.S. Border Patrol agent watches over detained immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border on August 16, 2016 in Roma, Texas. CREDIT: John Moore

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is changing up its story about why one of its officers shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old last week.

Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a Guatemalan migrant hoping to earn money in the U.S., was shot and killed by an unnamed 15-year veteran of the border patrol, after crossing into the U.S. near Laredo, Texas.

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Initially, the federal agency claimed a group of undocumented immigrants started hitting the officer with “blunt objects” during an unprovoked attack while he patrolled a residential street searching for “illegal activity.” Gómez González, who was shot and fatally wounded by the agent, was named as “one of the assailants,” of that attack according to the New York Times.

But in an updated statement on Friday, the agency now says they were told by the officer that a group of immigrants “rushed him” instead of complying with demands to get on the ground. CBP no longer refers to the deceased woman as an assailant, but merely as  a “member of the group,” the Times wrote.

The FBI and Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting ad the officer was put on administrative leave.

Marta V. Martinez, a resident of the neighborhood where the shooting took place said she did not see any weapons and that the group of undocumented immigrants were hiding. She also said she did not hear anyone yelling or say “stop” or “don’t run.”

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During a news conference in Guatemala City on Friday, Gómez González’s aunt, Dominga Vicente criticized her niece’s treatment by federal agents and relatives told the media they want the body returned to Guatemala.

“There are many people that have been treated like animals and that isn’t what we should do as people,” Vicente said.