Daniel Noriega was dropping a child off at an Anaheim, Calif., school when a plainclothes immigration agent pulled up next to him and allegedly opened fire.
Noriega is suing unknown agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in federal court for arrest without probable cause and use of deadly force without cause.
He says he was dropping his girlfriend’s son off at Westmont School on Dec. 1, 2011, when an unmarked government car pulled up in front of his car, blocking his way. He claims the ICE agent got out of the vehicle and fired at him.
According to Court House News Service, the complaint notes that “all of a sudden, a car quickly pulled up near Noriega. The tires screeched as the vehicle came to an abrupt halt. The UFA [Unknown Federal Agent], without any warning or instruction, without identifying himself as a federal agent or law enforcement officer, without any provocation whatsoever, and while wearing plain clothes, quickly exited his vehicle, pulled out a firearm as he approached Noriega, and fired it at Noriega.”
“I was fearing for my life,” Noriega told the Orange County Register. “I was just shocked. I was thinking that I’m not going to see my daughter no more. He never said, ‘Put your hands up.’ He never gave me a warning. He just got out and fired at me.”
Noriega claims he maneuvered his GMC Yukon around the car and sped away. He stopped at a Mobil station in Buena Park and called 911; he didn’t have his cell phone with him.
Police and the ICE agent responded to the gas station and took him into custody. His Yukon was reportedly searched and impounded.
“The UFA and other ICE agents reviewed a photo and compared it to Noriega,” the complaint says. “Upon comparison, the federal agents shook their heads in a left to right manner demonstrating a ‘no’ or ‘negative’ response to their comparative assessment of whether Noriega was the person in the photo for whom they had been searching.”
Noriega claims that, although they knew he wasn’t the person ICE was looking for, he was still arrested. He says the unidentified immigration agent either asked local police arrest him or made false statements that caused them to arrest him.
“Noriega was arrested and threatened with criminal prosecution for attempted murder of an ICE agent while law enforcement searched his vehicle and then unlawfully searched his home without a warrant,” the complaint states.
Noriega told NBC News the ICE agents were looking for his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, who was arrested nine days later in different state.