Prosecutors dropping case against Border Patrol agent who shot teenager

Federal prosecutors will not pursue a third trial against a Border Patrol agent who fatally shot a Mexican teenager through a border fence in 2012.

The Associated Press reports that prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday that they will not pursue a third court battle against Lonnie Swartz, who fired 16 shots at 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez in October 2012, killing him through a border fence dividing the towns of Nogales in Mexico and Arizona.

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Federal prosecutors and Swartz's defense attorneys both argued that Rodriguez was involved in throwing rocks at border agents including Swartz to distract them from attempts to catch drug smugglers moving across the border illegally. Swartz's attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense, while prosecutors said that he lost his cool and opened fire on the teen, who they said was not a real threat.

“Agent Swartz is relieved and looking forward to moving on with his life without the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over his head,” Swartz's attorney told the AP.

Rodriguez's family has denied the boy's alleged involvement in distracting Border Patrol agents from crime-fighting operations, and argue that his killing was unjustified.

Swartz was previously acquitted of second-degree murder in April, while the same jury deadlocked on a charge of manslaughter. He was later re-tried and handed a not guilty verdict on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, while the second jury also deadlocked on a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Another Border Patrol agent currently awaits trial for the murder of four women in Texas, where prosecutors have said they will pursue the death penalty.