Waiting for answers one year after border shooting
On March 21 of last year, a U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a 19-year-old man near Douglas along the U.S.-Mexico border, and an investigation is still being conducted, as the first anniversary of the incident approaches.
Carlos Lamadrid, a U.S. citizen, was eluding law enforcement officials while driving a Chevrolet Avalanche containing 48 pounds of bundled marijuana. He fled the vehicle and ran toward a ladder along the border fence, and agent Lucas Tidwell allegedly shot him three times in the back.
Two or possibly three subjects were on top of the border fence on the Mexico side. One subject near the ladder was allegedly throwing rocks, and one or two rocks struck a Border Patrol vehicle, while other rocks flew over the vehicle, according to a court document.
“(Douglas police) officer Marcus Gonzalez said he saw at least three rocks being thrown, by other subjects, and heard at least three shots being fired by the BP agent, identified as Lucas Tidwell,” states the document.
At the border fence there was a ladder laying on the ground, according to Cochise County Sheriff’s Det. Ursula Ritchie. Also, there were five shell casings, and just to the west there were two rocks — one on the road and another behind some hay bales.
“Agent Tidwell, the agent involved in this incident, had been removed from the scene, however, the unit he was driving was still on location. The windshield showed damage near the roof and just above the driver seat. Another damaged area to the windshield, first believed to be a rock hit, was a bullet hole from the inside of the vehicle to the outside,” the document states.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation of the shooting and forwarded the case to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office last year.
County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer told the Herald/Review, “We are still waiting for the Department of Justice to conclude their internal investigation before releasing our findings and conclusions. That way, we can be sure that both our and DoJ’s findings and conclusions are made independently of each other and without influencing each other. That helps ensure the integrity of both investigations.”
Manuel Johnson, with the FBI’s Phoenix Division, told the Herald/Review that “Our investigation has concluded at this time. Please contact the United States Attorney’s Office.”
The Herald/Review contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but it declined to comment.
Mario Escalante, public affairs officer with the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, told the Herald/Review the agent is currently on active duty. He added: “CBP (Customs and Border Protection) regrets the loss of life and awaits the results of the investigation. Any additional questions should be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office.”
Guadalupe Guerrero, the mother of Lamadrid, said the first anniversary of the shooting will be marked with some memorial events in honor of her son. She is still sad.
“What can I say? Nothing,” she told the Herald/Review. “Nobody has communicated with me. I don’t know what I can say. It has been one year … I am the only one who is expecting justice for my son. That’s all I can say.”
She added the family currently is not represented by a lawyer. She intends to hire an attorney and possibly pursue a civil lawsuit, after the state and federal authorities decide whether or not they will file criminal charges against agent Tidwell.
Jesus Manuel Chino Lino, an illegal immigrant who was 17 at the time, was with Lamadrid at the incident on March 21, 2011. He was in the vehicle during the pursuit and he fled towards the border fence along with Lamadrid when he was killed.
Chino Lino was sentenced in Cochise County Superior Court in September of last year to serve 1 3/4 years in prison, after pleading guilty in an agreement to possession of marijuana for sale with a weight of less than two pounds.