EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Texas National Guard soldier has been suspended after he shot and wounded a man on the other side of the U.S. southern border last week, Mexico’s president said Thursday.
Calling the shooting “a violation of international law,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he received a report on the soldier’s suspension, without specifying which agency it came from.
The soldier says he shot the Mexican man in defense of a migrant who the man was allegedly seeking to harm, and the soldier fired first into the air, López Obrador said at a news conference.
A different account of Saturday’s shooting was given by Enrique Rodriguez, a spokesperson with the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office, who says the 22-year-old Mexican man was shot while jogging. The man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the buttocks and has since been released, Rodriguez said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed it’s investigating the shooting in Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande River from El Paso. But the agency did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Thursday on the soldier’s suspension, nor did the Texas Military Department.
The Department of Public Safety oversees Operation Lone Star, which has deployed state resources and members of the Texas National Guard to the border since March 2021. The mission has drawn criticism over its cost, strategy and effectiveness.
The shooting is being investigated by Mexican and U.S. federal authorities and the Department of Public Safety. The Texas Rangers met with top diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday to discuss the soldier’s suspension, according to a statement from the ministry.
It’s not the first time a national guardsman fired along the border this year. In January, a migrant was shot and wounded in a struggle with a member of the Texas National Guard, who was trying to detain him.
Few details about that shooting were shared at the time and concerns were raised over the lack of transparency.
Mark Stevenson and Maria Verza in Mexico City contributed to this report.