Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico boy shot in back by US patrol, post-mortem shows

US Border Patrol vehicle in Arizona keeps watch along the fence on the border with Mexico. File photo
Arizona's porous desert is a popular route for Mexican drug traffickers

A Mexican teenager shot dead last year was hit from behind by several bullets when US Border Patrol agents opened fire, a post-mortem report shows.

Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, was in Nogales - on the Mexican side of the border with the US state of Arizona - when he was killed in October.

US officials say a border guard fired when his patrol was pelted by rocks thrown by suspected drug smugglers.

Mexico has complained that the use of lethal force was excessive.

'Strong case'

A lawyer acting for the teenager's family released a copy of the medical examiner's report on Thursday.

The document said that Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez had been hit from behind in the head, neck and body.

It also stated that there were several other bullet injuries, suggesting that they may be exit wounds.

"I'm not saying it's a clear case of excessive force, but it is a very strong case for excessive use of force," lawyer Luis Parra was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

"The border patrol agent who was firing could have easily taken cover," Mr Parra added.

Reports suggest that the teenager's family is now considering filing a lawsuit.

The US authorities said soon after the 10 October 2012 incident that the suspected drug smugglers first abandoned a haul of drugs, ran back across the border and then started throwing stones at the border patrol.

It said that the border agent had opened fire only after the suspects ignored orders to stop.

The FBI is currently investigating the shooting and declined to comment on the post-mortem report. Border Patrol officials also declined to comment, AP reported.

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