New York – A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent shot a man while serving a warrant Thursday in Brooklyn. Law enforcement sources told CBS New York the man was not the subject of the warrant.
The ICE agent had visited a Brooklyn home shortly before 8:15 a.m. in an attempt to arrest Gasper Avendano-Hernandez, “a twice-removed illegal alien from Mexico with a 2011 assault conviction in New York City,” CBS New York reports. The warrant allegedly involved a court appearance for an issue with his car.
Avendano-Hernandez apparently lived at the home with his girlfriend and her two adult sons.
Law enforcement sources said he briefly barricaded himself inside, while one of the sons – 26-year-old Erick Diaz – confronted the agent just outside the entryway. A struggled ensued, and the agent discharged his weapon, shooting Diaz once in the face and hand.
“They shot him straight for the kill,” said the other son, Kevin Yanez Cruz, who had come outside to see what was happening. “They pointed the gun at my brother’s head and shot him in the cheek.”
“They didn’t even explain the issue,” he said. “They just grabbed him like an animal and threw him on the floor. He didn’t know what was going on, they didn’t give him no identification, nothing. They didn’t even show him the warrant, that he has a warrant.”
Diaz was rushed to a hospital in serious condition but was expected to survive. Avendano-Hernandez was also hospitalized, reportedly shot with a Taser during his arrest.
Another person was taken into custody at the scene, although it’s unclear what charges he or she may face.
Later Thursday, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the hospital in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Diaz’s mother, brother and girlfriend stood outside in solidarity.
Jorge Islas, the Consul General of Mexico, confirmed Diaz was in the country legally on a visa, and said Avendano-Hernandez was undocumented.
“I was told that he’s a not-documented migrant, so that I think whenever the medical supervision is over and he’s OK, he’s going to face trial in the court,” Islas said.
Elected officials said ICE has a lot more to explain, given the way the situation played out.
“I think it’s completely a disgrace that someone is going to pull a gun to someone that has no gun,” State Assembly Member Felix Ortiz said.
“The message for ICE: we don’t want you here,” New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said.
State lawmakers sent a letter to ICE asking to be briefed on what happened and urging the agency to assure the men involved have access to legal counsel.
In a statement, ICE said its officers were physically confronted and that a member of its fugitive operations team discharged at least one firearm. Two agents were treated for minor injuries.