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Mexico Condemns Shooting by Border Agent

In this June 13, 2013 picture, a U.S. Border Patrol agent rides an ATV as he patrols at night between the border structures separating Tijuana, Mexico, left, from San Diego. Gregory Bull/AP/file / AP

The government of Mexico on Thursday condemned the fatal shooting of a Mexican man who allegedly threw a rock that struck a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the head near the U.S-Mexico border in California.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said in a statement it was "deeply concerned" about the death of Jesus Flores Cruz, 41, near San Diego. Lethal force should be avoided in immigration enforcement, said the statement.

Under current policy, agents can use deadly force if they have a reasonable belief that their lives or the lives of others are in danger. The Border Patrol has stated that rocks can be lethal weapons.

According to the San Diego Sheriff's Department, Flores Cruz threw rocks the size of a basketball. Mexico's consul general in San Diego, Remedios Gomez Arnau, said that besides the surviving border patrol agent, who has not been identified, there are no other witnesses.

According to figures from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, rock attacks fell to 185 instances in fiscal 2012, becoming the second-most-common type of assault. Agents fired guns 22 times and responded 42 times with less-than-lethal force.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not speak specifically about the shooting of Flores Cruz, but he said the Border Patrol's use-of-force policy would be publicly released.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety of our men and women who put their lives on the line on the border," said Mayorkas. "At the same time we are committed to ensuring that our use-of-force policies are a reflection of best practices."

-Reporting by the Associated Press