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US border agent shoots, kills person in California scuffle

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO, California (Reuters) - A U.S. border agent shot and killed a person in a group of suspected illegal immigrants that had pelted the agent with rocks during a confrontation near San Diego, officials said.

"Fearing for his life the agent discharged his service issued weapon, resulting in the death of one assailant," the U.S. Border Patrol said in a statement after the incident in the Otay Mountain area near the Mexican border east of San Diego.

The Border Patrol said the agent was trying to arrest several suspected illegal immigrants when he was pelted with rocks, one of which struck him in the head. Two other illegal immigrants were arrested during the incident, which took place before 7 a.m. local time, the Border Patrol said.

Authorities did not immediately release the gender and age of the suspect shot to death, and they did not immediately say who threw the rocks at the Border Patrol agent. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was investigating the shooting, said Lieutenant Jason Vickery.

A month ago, another U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed a man in the Arizona desert near Mexico.

In the Arizona incident, police said the agent, who had been tracking illegal border crossers, shot and killed a man who fought with him and tried to take the agent's gun.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has been criticized in recent years over concerns that agents may have sometimes been too quick to use lethal force. The agency said in September that it would train officers to defuse threats. Sixteen members of Congress in May 2012 called for a review of use-of-force incidents and policy.

(Reporting by Marty Graham and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman, Cynthia Johnston, G Crosse and David Gregorio)

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