In the last 15 years, agents with Customs and Border Protection have used deadly force in states up to 160 miles from the border, from Maine to California

For six long years the family of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez have been caught in a legal saga seeking justice for the 16-year-old who was killed by a US border patrol agent who fired 16 times from Arizona into Mexico.

Ending criminal proceedings that have dragged on since 2012, a jury last week cleared agent Lonnie Swartz of second-degree murder and could not agree on a verdict for two lesser charges of manslaughter. The shooting has compelled judges up to the US supreme court to deliberate whether the American government can be sued in civil court for wrongful deaths on Mexican soil – placing the incident, and eight other cross-border fatal shootings, at the center of scrutiny surrounding the use of force by agents in response to allegedly thrown rocks.

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Read More Fatal encounters: 97 deaths point to pattern of border agent violence across America

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