Authorities ID US citizen who died in CBP custody at San Ysidro border crossing

Tribune Content Agency

SAN DIEGO — Authorities on Tuesday identified the 61-year-old man who died late last month in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody after a struggle with customs officers and security personnel at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Julio Marcos Gonzalez, a U.S. citizen who lived in Mexico, died March 29 when he apparently attempted to walk into the U.S. from Mexico through the exit doors of the pedestrian processing building, according to a statement from San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown.

The cause and manner of Gonzalez’s death were not released, nor were the names of “several CBP officers (who) were involved in the contact” with Gonzalez the night he died.

Authorities said last week that around 9:15 p.m. that night, a Sunday, Gonzalez tried to walk into a restricted area, where he became “non-compliant” and “uncooperative” with security personnel redirecting him to the entrance.

CBP officials said in a statement that Gonzalez also “exhibited abnormal behavior” when officers tried to stop him.

Authorities have provided no details about the nature of the struggle that ensued, or whether authorities used force against Gonzalez.

After CBP officers and security staff took him into custody and moved him to a detention area, he “began to have difficulty breathing,” according to Brown.

A few minutes after putting him in a detention cell, CBP officers noticed Gonzalez was unresponsive, called for help and began rendering medical aid, according to the CBP statement. When San Diego firefighters arrived, they took over and attempted to revive him.

Gonzalez died at the scene, Brown said.

The San Diego Police Department’s homicide unit is investigating the death, as it does for all in-custody deaths in the city of San Diego.

“When the homicide unit completes (its) investigation, it will be reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office,” according to Brown, a lieutenant in the homicide unit.

The CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility will also review the incident, per agency policy.

Jorge Llanos, president of the local union chapter that represents CBP officers, said the union will protect its employees and make sure they followed correct policies, noting that Gonzalez was afforded “first responders and medical assistance.”


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