REFILE-Mexican teen shot in back in clash with U.S. border police -autopsy

Reuters Middle East

(Rewords headline)

PHOENIX, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A Mexican teenager killed when

the U.S. Border Patrol opened fire on a group of rock throwers

in Mexico last year was shot at least seven times from behind,

an autopsy by Mexican authorities showed.

Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, was shot as agents fired

into Nogales, Mexico, after responding to reports of drug

trafficking on Oct 10.

An attorney acting for the Elena Rodriguez family, Luis F.

Parra, released a copy of the Mexican medical examiner's report

on Thursday.

The autopsy was conducted several hours after the shooting.

It found that the teen had been struck in the head, neck and

body by at least seven bullets fired from behind him. It

described several other bullet injuries, some of which may have

been exit wounds.

Following the shooting, Mexican authorities condemned the

U.S. Border Patrol's use of lethal force and called for a timely

and transparent investigation.

In a written statement, the Border Patrol said the incident

began shortly before midnight on Oct. 10 when agents responded

to reports of two suspected smugglers, who they watched drop

drugs on the Arizona side of the border.

The smugglers then fled back across the border into Mexico

and "began assaulting the agents with rocks." An unnamed agent

opened fire after the suspects refused orders to stop, the

patrol said.

News pictures taken shortly after the October shooting

showed Elena Rodriguez' apparently lifeless body face down on

the sidewalk a few yards south of the border fence, which

consists of parallel steel barriers.

The FBI has been leading the investigation into the

shooting. A spokesman for the agency's Phoenix division declined

on Thursday to comment on the autopsy or the continuing

investigation.

Parra did not immediately respond to a request on Thursday

for comment on the autopsy's findings.

Elena Rodriguez was the second Mexican teenager killed in a

clash with the Border Patrol in the Mexican border city in less

than two years. In January 2011, an agent fired into Mexico,

killing 17-year-old Ramses Barron of Nogales.

The Elena Rodriguez shooting came more than a week after a

Border Patrol agent was shot dead near the border in an apparent

friendly fire incident.

Arizona is on a major route for Mexican smuggling networks

hauling drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States, and

running guns and cash profits back south to Mexico.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Bill Trott)

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