Chris Park  /  AP
The driver of this SUV was shot dead after he tried to run the border crossing near San Diego. The car is seen Thursday parked just before the border gates to Tijuana, Mexico.
updated 5/19/2006 10:29:03 AM ET 2006-05-19T14:29:03

The world’s busiest border crossing reopened early Friday following a nine-hour closure that occurred after federal authorities shot and killed the driver of a sport utility vehicle headed for Mexico, officials said.

The shooting on Interstate 5 around 3:30 p.m. Thursday was about 50 feet north of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which links Tijuana, Mexico with the San Diego area. The crossing reopened around early Friday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. No other injuries were reported.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents began following the black SUV after somebody reported seeing it pick up suspected illegal immigrants near the U.S. side of the Otay Mesa border crossing, said Lt. Kevin Rooney of San Diego Police Department.

As traffic backed up near the border, the vehicle stopped on the shoulder. When agents approached and tried to get the driver to step out of the SUV, the suspect “began to drive off and he veered hard to the left, trying to get back in traffic,” Rooney said. Two agents then opened fire, he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the driver was armed. Five passengers, whose identities were not released, were taken into custody, Rooney said.

Anna Valderrama of Tijuana, Mexico, who was about four vehicles back when the shooting occurred, said she was stuck in her car for more than two hours.

“I was going to eat with my family,” said Valderrama. “I feel desperate to go home.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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