Mother Shot by Border Patrol Was on Probation, Fleeing Felon's Apartment

Authorities Tuesday night released the first detailed account of the fatal shooting of a woman by a Border Patrol agent last week on a residential street in  Chula Vista.

Valeria "Munique" Tachiquin-Alvarado, 32, hit the Border Patrol agent with her car while attempting to flee from an apartment where officers were trying to arrest a felon, Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge said. At the time, Tachiquin-Alvarado was on probation for a 2011 narcotics conviction.

The series of events that led to the fatal shooting began shortly before 1 p.m. Friday, when a group of plainclothes Border Patrol agents went to an apartment in the 600 block of Moss Street to arrest a felon who previously had been deported, Wedge said.

The undercover officers found several people, including Tachiquin-Alvarado, inside the residence and identified themselves as law enforcement officers, according to Wedge. The occupants had been the subjects of prior complaints of illegal drug activity, the captain said.

Shortly after the agents arrived, Tachiquin-Alvarado, a U.S. citizen and mother of five who lived in the Southcrest area of San Diego, answered the door, was questioned, then left the apartment and walked toward a dark-green Honda Accord parked nearby.

Border Patrol personnel who had surrounded the complex contacted her as she got behind the wheel, Wedge said. The woman then allegedly pulled away from the curb, causing the sedan to strike an agent at least once.

The lawman told Tachiquin-Alvarado she was under arrest for vehicular assault as a fellow officer reached through the driver's-side window and tried to remove the ignition key, Wedge said. The car then struck the first agent again, after which Tachiquin-Alvarado allegedly drove off to the west with him perched on the hood of the vehicle.

Witnesses told investigators the Honda was traveling about 25 mph and at one point veered into an oncoming lane as the agent, who appeared fearful, yelled at the woman to stop the car, according to Wedge.

After allegedly driving more than 200 yards, Tachiquin-Alvarado began to make a turn near Oaklawn Avenue. At that point, according to a witness, the agent drew his gun and fired repeatedly into the windshield.

Agents rendered first-aid to Tachiquin-Alvarado prior to the arrival of paramedics, who pronounced her dead at the scene.

The agent who opened fire was later evaluated at a hospital and released. His name has not been released.

In previous public statements, law enforcement officials had described the lawman being struck by the woman's car a single time.

Police said they have witnesses to confirm their version, but others gave Fox 5 a different account.

“I just witnessed the officer walking toward the female’s car. She was backing up and then he discharged his weapon started firing,” said Prince Watson, a witness.

Chula Vista police continue to work with federal agencies "to ensure a comprehensive investigation is completed,'' Wedge said.

"Additionally, witness interviews are pending, while lab personnel are processing physical evidence,'' he said.

The results of the probe will be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office for a ruling on whether the shooting was legally justified.

On Monday, Tachiquin-Alvarado's family held a tearful news conference to protest the circumstances of her death and staged an evening candlelight vigil near the scene of the fatal encounter.

The suspect who agents were originally checking on prior to the shooting has not been arrested.

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