A man shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in California was killed for hurling large rocks, authorities said Wednesday.
The man -- who was not identified -- threw fist-sized rocks and one as large as a basketball from a hillside at an agent near San Diego's Otay Mesa border on Tuesday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.
One of the larger pieces hit the agent in the head. The agent -- who was also not identified -- claims he thought it might kill him if he was hit in the head again with one of the rocks, Border Patrol said in a statement Tuesday. He then fired his gun at least twice and attempted to revive the man when he was hit.
The agent was treated for minor injuries.
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Prosecutors decided not to charge the agent with a crime. Current Border Patrol policy states that an agent can use deadly force when they feel their life is in danger.
Border Patrol agents were attacked with rocks 339 times in the 2011 fiscal year, more than any other assault on its agents.
"The easiest way to stop these incidents from happening is to stop attacking Border Patrol agents," said Shawn Moran of the National Border Patrol Council.
Moran says he’s confident an investigation will prove the agent did nothing wrong.
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But a nonprofit group, The Police Executive Research Forum, is recommending Border Patrol prohibit the use of deadly force against people throwing rocks and assailants in vehicles.