EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A deadly shootout between gunmen and Mexican police that left seven bullet holes in El Paso City Hall has renewed calls for tighter border security, even as local authorities say little can be done to stop stray bullets from crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote President Barack Obama on Wednesday to say Tuesday's "cross-border gunfire" was more proof that the state "is under constant assault from illegal activity threatening a porous border."
Mexican authorities said the shootout began between police and armed suspects in Ciudad Juarez — a city plagued by drug violence just across the Rio Grande from El Paso — as officers were trying to investigate a vehicle with no license plates in a border-area parking lot within view of El Paso City Hall.
Police and the suspects exchanged at least 40 shots, and El Paso police believe seven of those bullets flew over the border — traveling more than a half-mile — and hit city hall. No one was injured in El Paso, but a Mexican federal police officer and a bystander in Juarez were killed.
In his letter to Obama, Abbott said "good fortune" prevented any injuries when a single bullet crashed through a ninth-floor office window but insisted the incident was evidence of the need for more border security.
"Luck and good fortune are not effective border enforcement policies," Abbott wrote. "The shocking reality of cross-border gunfire proves the cold reality: American lives are at risk."
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about Abbott's letter.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in Juarez since the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels started fighting for control of the sprawling border city in 2008. Daylight shootings have become commonplace.
Despite concerns of spillover violence from Mexico's bloody fight against drug cartels, many border cities, including El Paso, have remained largely unscathed.
So far this year, El Paso has recorded one homicide, compared to more than 1,300 killings in Juarez.
El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson shrugged off suggestions that more security could prevent stray bullets from flying across the border.
"A (multimillion-dollar) wall didn't stop bullets," Wilson said, referring to the border fence built during the Bush administration.
"It's an unfortunate reality of where we are," she said.
Abbott is among a growing number of politicians from around the country arguing for more border security.
Earlier this year, Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was shot to death in a remote stretch of desert on his property about 20 miles from the border. Investigators have said footprints led from the scene of that shooting south to the border.
Krentz's killing prompted an outcry over border security. Lawmakers in Arizona later passed a bill giving local police authority to ask about someone's immigration status in certain situations.
Obama has ordered up to 1,200 National Guard soldiers to the border.
Associated Press Writer Olivia Torres contributed to this report from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
Chilly temperatures and scattered showers started the weekend. Temperatures at the coast and inland communities hovered around 60 degrees with some areas of San Diego County receiving rain during the morning hours.
A transient accused of fatally stabbing a man after they got into an argument near a 7-Eleven store in Poway pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Coastal rail closures could complicate the commute for the thousands of people expected at Women's Marches set for downtown San Diego and San Marcos Saturday, though additional transit options are being made available.
A man arrested in the doctor's lounge at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa after claiming to be an anesthesiologist pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of treating the sick without a certificate.
People who bought new homes in Otay Ranch's Village of Escaya can start moving in Friday - later than planned but after the developer took steps to address methane found at the site.
Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico found their imposing heights should stop border crossers, The Associated Press has learned, a finding that’s likely to please security hawks but raise concerns about costs and environmental damage.
Two of the region's largest federal enterprises, military bases and border patrol, are unlikely to face major disruptions in the event of a looming government shutdown that experts say likely is to occur at midnight.
Unicorn Fest is sure to be a blast. There will be lots of vendors selling unicorn themed food, drinks, treats, clothing, accessories, and performers that are sure to entertain.