UPDATE, June 4: U.S. Border Patrol officials now say a man who died after refusing to stop at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint earlier this week took his own life.
In a statement issued Friday, the Border Patrol identified the man as a 19-year-old U.S. citizen and said he shot himself after crashing his car into a median about six miles east of the checkpoint as he was being pursued by law enforcement.
Why the man ran the checkpoint on Tuesday evening still wasn’t known, however the Hudspeth County sheriff previously indicated he was believed to be under the influence of illicit drugs.
The Texas Rangers have confirmed to ABC-7 that they are investigating the incident, but declined further comment.
ORIGINAL REPORT, June 1: SIERRA BLANCA, Texas — A man believed to be under the influence of drugs drove through a Border Patrol checkpoint in his vehicle and then opened fire with a gun on authorities before being found dead a short time later of a suspected overdose, a law enforcement official told ABC-7.
The incident happened Tuesday about 7 p.m. at the checkpoint along Interstate 10 at Sierra Blanca.
Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West told ABC-7 that after running the checkpoint, the man shot at Border Patrol agents and sheriff’s deputies as he fled in his vehicle. No law enforcement were injured and authorities didn’t return the gunfire, the sheriff said.
Pursuing authorities later found the man dead about five miles east of Sierra Blanca in his crashed car, the sheriff said. He indicated there were no signs that the man took his own life, so officials think he probably died as a result of consuming a high quantity of unspecified illicit drugs.
The Texas Rangers were at the scene late Tuesday night to investigate the death, the sheriff said.
In a late night statement, the U.S. Border Patrol described the incident simply as “a failure to yield that resulted in one fatality.” The agency declined further comment citing the ongoing investigation.
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