Border agent accused in fatal shooting has history of misconduct - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Border agent accused in fatal shooting has history of misconduct

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News 8 is not identifying the border agent News 8 is not identifying the border agent
Valeria Munique Tachiquin-Alvarado and family Valeria Munique Tachiquin-Alvarado and family
Chula Vista shooting scene (Sept. 28, 2012) Chula Vista shooting scene (Sept. 28, 2012)

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CBS 8) - News 8 has learned new information about the background of a U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of shooting and killing a mother of five in Chula Vista.

An anonymous tipster revealed the name of the plain clothes agent this week to Alliance San Diego, a local human rights group.

Court records show the agent has a history of serious misconduct in his previous job as a deputy sheriff in another county.

News 8 tried to speak with the agent at his home in Chula Vista but no one answered the door. News 8 is not identifying him because he works as a plain clothes agent and publishing his name could put him and his job at risk.

The 34-year-old, married agent is accused of opening fire on a vehicle in Chula Vista on September 28 during a U.S. Border Patrol sweep of an apartment in the 600 block of Moss St.

The agent – wearing street clothes – opened fire as Valeria Munique Tachiquin-Alvarado, 32, attempted to drive away from the scene. She was not wanted for any crime, but investigators said she hit the agent with her vehicle and drove away with the agent on the hood of her car.

The lawyer for Tachiquin-Alvarado's family told News 8 that the agent identified as the shooter had a history of misconduct when he worked as a deputy ten years ago.

"If this person is the shooter, he has a history of insubordination, a history of writing false reports, a history of improperly seizing, arresting and detaining people," said attorney Eugene Iredale.

Chula Vista police put out a written statement on Friday saying its department will not confirm the agent's name out of concern for his safety.

News 8 has confirmed the person in question is, in fact, a federal agent.

"(The name) came from an anonymous phone call and it came from an analysis of the appearance of a person in photographs taken by bystanders after the event," Iredale said.

Court records show the agent received several suspension and termination notices between 2001 and 2003, when he worked as a deputy.

He resigned in 2003 and then filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit in Federal court.

The termination notices accused the then deputy of "unprofessional conduct, dishonesty, violation of or refusal to obey reasonable regulations, insubordination, violation of rules, incompetence, and failure to follow proper procedures of arrest, search, and seizure and treatment of persons in custody," the court records state.

On December 28, 2001, the then deputy arrested a suspect and an altercation resulted. An investigation found that the deputy's "own actions instigated the incident" and that his actions "unnecessarily exposed himself and the Sheriff's Department to a citizen complaint or civil suit," the records said.

On June 16, 2003, a man arrested a month earlier by the deputy filed a complaint alleging the deputy "‘acted inhumanely and endangered (his) life' by conducting an illegal search and placing him in a patrol vehicle with no air conditioning causing (him) to suffer from heat exposure," according to the records.

On July 27, 2003, "Plaintiff conducted a traffic stop on (a man), searched his hotel room, and arrested him. The district attorney to whom the case was referred rejected the charges, citing that the '[Fourth Amendment] violations [are] almost too numerous to list,'" the court record continues.

"This is a person who should never have been hired in the first place for a law enforcement job," said attorney Iredale, who plans to file civil action on behalf of Tachiquin-Alvarado's family.

Chula Vista police investigators said Tachiquin-Alvarado, the mother killed in the shooting incident, has her own history of criminal drug use.

San Diego Superior Court records in Chula Vista show Tachiquin-Alvarado has drug-related convictions in 2000, 2004, and 2011, including one felony conviction for possession of crystal methamphetamine.

On Tuesday, Chula Vista police released additional information in a written statement describing the department's version of how the fatal shooting unfolded.

"After driving more than 200 yards, Tachiquin-Alvarado made a turning maneuver near Oaklawn Avenue while the agent was still on the hood of her vehicle. A witness said it was at this time the agent drew his service weapon and fired multiple rounds into the windshield, striking Tachiquin-Alvarado," the statement read in part.

Some witnesses at the scene who spoke to News 8 disputed that the agent was on top of the vehicle's hood when he opened fire.

Attorney Iredale said the name of the agent who fired the shots should be made public, and he questioned the Chula Vista Police Department's investigation.

"Why won't they tell us the previous law enforcement record of the man who shot and killed her?" Iredale asked.

"Instead of trying to find the truth, they're trying to make one side look bad, when you defame a dead person who can't even speak for themselves; and then hiding the identity, and the background of possible serious misconduct," he said.

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