Friday, July 02, 2010

Gunfire from Juarez usually heard, not seen

The gunfire from Juarez that struck El Paso City Hall on Tuesday was unusual. But it is not uncommon for U.S. Border Patrol agents to hear the sound of gunshots from Mexico. Border Patrol agents posted along the Rio Grande have reported hearing shots as the violence has boiled in Juarez, though officials said it is uncommon for bullets to cross the border and strike in the U.S. "Typically, agents hear gunshots south of the border but as far as an incident like this (City Hall shooting) no," said Agent Ramiro Cordero, a spokesman for the Border Patrol. Cordero said agents are vigilant, especially because of the drug violence in Juarez that has killed more than 5,000 people since 2008. El Paso police said they believe the seven shots that hit City Hall were rounds from a shooting in which a Mexican federal police officer was killed on a Juarez street near the Rio Grande. For residents near the border, the sound of guns can be surreal. The City Hall shooting is not without historical precedent. About 100 years ago during the Mexican Revolution, El Paso buildings and El Pasoans were hit by shots fired from Juarez. The brick walls on the south side of the old laundry building on South Santa Fe Street still have the pockmarks of revolutionary bullets. In 1919, things got so bad that 3,600 U.S. troops rolled into Juarez to stop the fighting and help protect U.S. lives after three soldiers were hit by stray bullets, according to El Paso Times archives...more

Unfortunately, you can't believe a thing Cordero says.

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