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AZ Border agent cleared in fatal shooting

AZ Border agent cleared in fatal shooting

A Border Patrol agent who shot and killed an illegal immigrant in January near Douglas won't be charged in the case, the Cochise County Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

The shooting of 28-year-old Jorge Alfredo Solís Palma by Border Patrol agent Miguel Torres-Vasquezwas legally justified, Doyle Johnstun, chief criminal deputy county attorney, wrote in the finding.

The shooting occurred in the morning of Jan. 4 east of Douglas, according to a Cochise County Sheriff's Office report. Agents were tracking three people in the area when they found Solis hiding under a tree.

Solis, of Veracruz, Mexico, refused to come out and a struggle began, the report says. Solis threw rocks at agents and an agency dog as tried to flee. An agent fired two shots at Solis, who died on the way to a Tucson hospital.

Court records show that Solís-Palma had been previously arrested in 2005 by the Border Patrol and was later charged with a felony drug offense. On Sept. 8, 2005 near Douglas, agents found Solís and another man hiding in the brush near four large bags of marijuana that weighed 108 pounds. Solís and the other man admitted they were hired in Mexico to transport the marijuana into the U.S. in exchange for transportation to Phoenix.

This was the second fatal shooting of an illegal immigrant by a Border Patrol agent in Cochise County in the last four years.

On Jan. 12, 2007, agent Nicholas Corbett shot and killed Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera about 100 yards north of the border between Bisbee and Douglas. Corbett was tried twice for murder in federal court, with both trials ending in a hung jury. Dominguez' family has since filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, suing both the agent and the federal government.

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