FBI Investigation of Hernandez Killing Completed; Case Forwarded to Civil Rights Investigators
The FBI has completed its probe of the fatal shooting of Esequiel Hernandez Jr., an 18-year-old goat herder, by a U.S. Marine on anti-drug patrol near the border. The case had been forwarded to federal civil rights investigators, an FBI spokesman said on January 9. "Unless the Department of Justice requires additional information, our investigation is complete," said Terry Kincaid, who heads the FBI office in Midland, TX. Hernandez was shot on May 20, 1997 near his home in Redford, Texas, a rural community on the Rio Grande about 200 miles southeast of El Paso. Military officials say Cpl. Clemente Banuelos fatally shot the teenager after the Hernandez began shooting at the 4-man Marine team led by Banuelos. A Presidio County grand jury last year cleared Banuelos and the other Marines of criminal wrongdoing in the case (Associated Press, "FBI completes probe of fatal shooting of border teen by Marine," Houston Chronicle, January 10, 1998, p. 36A) (For background information and photographs, see "The Hernandez Killing ..." NewsBriefs, August 1997; "18-Year-Old Texan, Herding Goats, Killed by U.S. Marine Corps Anti-Drug Patrol ..." NewsBriefs, July 1997).