Hachita, NM – A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot multiple times in the chest while trying to apprehend alleged human traffickers during a pursuit on a rural roadway on Thursday.
The incident occurred shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 5 on New Mexico Highway 146 between Lordsburg and Deming, KFOX reported.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) said an agent assigned to the El Paso sector was conducting a traffic stop on a vehicle suspected of being used for human trafficking when one of the occupants opened fire on him, according to FOX News.
The agent was shot repeatedly in the chest and was able to return fire before the suspects sped off.
USCBP said the agent’s ballistic vest saved him from severe injury or death, FOX News reported.
The suspect vehicle crashed several miles away from the shooting scene and rolled.
“The fleeing vehicle was involved in a rolled over accident a few miles down the road and agents took six persons into custody,” USCBP said, according to KOAT.
Two of the occupants were airlifted to a trauma center in El Paso, Texas, in unknown condition.
Their identities were not immediately released.
The agent who was shot was released after undergoing a medical examination, according to KOAT.
The USCBP did not release his identity.
The New Mexico State Police, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are handling the ongoing investigation, KFOX reported.
The attack occurred just days before President Joe Biden is slated to visit El Paso before heading to Mexico City to meet with leaders of Mexico and Canada.
It will be his first visit to the border since he took office.
President Biden announced on Thursday that the U.S. will allow 30,000 migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba to come into the U.S. every month moving forward, the New York Post reported.
He also vowed to turn away people from those countries who illegally cross into the U.S. from Mexico.