American Killed Trying To Smuggle Chinese Men Over The U.S.-Mexico Border

A U.S. citizen attempting to smuggle Chinese men over the border was killed Monday night in a shootout with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, according to a statement released Wednesday by the agency.

Travis James Eckstein, a 23-year-old American, attempted to drive through the CBP inspection area at the San Ysidro port of entry, along the San Diego/Tijuana border.

Eckstein ignored commands from CBP officials to stop. After another vehicle came and prevented Eckstein from leaving, he started shooting at multiple CBP officers from inside his truck, the San Diego Police reported.

Eckstein continued the shooting as he got out of his vehicle when CBP officers returned fire. Eckstein was wounded and died on the scene despite officers with EMT training and San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel giving him medical care. The report states none of the seven CBP officers were injured in the shooting.

“We cannot speculate his motive,” a CBP official told The Daily Caller, 

A video was captured by a witness of the shooting. The sound of gunfire can be heard and shows the officers surrounding Eckstein’s vehicle.

After the shooting, two Chinese men, ages 18 and 27, were found in the back of Eckstein’s pickup truck. These men, who have “no legal status to enter the U.S.,” were not injured during the shooting, according to CBP statement.

“The CBP officers risked their own lives to protect the public from this gunman,” Pete Flores, director of field operations, said in the same statement. “Human smuggling is always dangerous. This unfortunate incident demonstrates the total disregard smuggling organizations have for what they consider to be cargo.”

The two Chinese men were interviewed by the San Diego Police Department and then released to the CBP officers, according to a statement from the department.

CBP will conduct an internal investigation led by the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility and DHS Office of the Inspector General. The San Diego Police is continuing its own investigation of the shooting as well.

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Author: Alexandra Lonas