Confrontation between ICE and suspect leads to shots fired

ICE said the immigration agent opened fire after the man drove at him while fleeing a traffic stop


By Travis Loller
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Mexican man shot while fleeing from immigration agents in Tennessee was recovering Friday, an attorney for his family said.

Andrew Free said in an interview the man was shot in the stomach and elbow Thursday morning by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. He did not immediately go to the hospital because he was frightened. Free and another attorney later negotiated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the man surrendered Thursday afternoon.

A bullet hole can be seen in the front window of a box truck where law enforcement officers where investigate after shots were fired involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the parking lot of a Food Lion store, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. (Shelley Mays/The Tennessean via AP)
A bullet hole can be seen in the front window of a box truck where law enforcement officers where investigate after shots were fired involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the parking lot of a Food Lion store, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. (Shelley Mays/The Tennessean via AP)

The FBI was involved because the agency was asked to investigate whether the man assaulted a federal officer. ICE has said the immigration agent opened fire after the man drove at him while fleeing a traffic stop. Both agencies have declined to name the man and the officer.

As of Friday, the man had not been arrested or charged by the FBI. Free said he believes that is because the evidence does not support the ICE agent's version of events.

Asked whether he had any concerns about the shooting, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said it was too early to comment, but he took time to criticize so-called sanctuary cities.

"What I'm in favor of and what I am supportive of is adhering to and following the law," the Republican governor told reporters in Nashville on Friday. "And sanctuary cities, in fact, are by their very nature and definition lawless."

Sanctuary city is a term without legal definition that generally means a locality that limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement activities.

Nashville Mayor David Briley, a Democrat, earlier this week signed an executive order discouraging local cooperation with immigration officials. Briley's order expresses concern that fear of deportation could keep residents from seeking health care for their children or reporting crimes to the police.

The order also criticizes Tennessee's anti-sanctuary cities law that threatens to withhold some funding from local governments that don't cooperate with ICE. Briley's order calls the law "immoral" and "dangerous."

Associated Press
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