- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Military officials at U.S. Northern Command are disputing recent reports that a Marine deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the Pentagon’s support mission there was shot.

Command officials are in the midst of an investigation into claims an active-duty Marine fired his sidearm after a physical confrontation with three unknown individuals during a surveillance operation near the El Centro Border Patrol station, located nearby in Calexico, California.

The late May incident, coupled with an altercation between two U.S. soldiers and Mexican troops near the U.S. border in Texas in April, ratcheted up tensions as the Pentagon dispatched more troops to the border and President Trump over the weekend threatened new tariffs on Mexico if it did not crack down on illegal migrant flows.

But during the course of the investigation, Northern Command officials say the reported details of the shooting do not match with what investigators have found.

“An investigation is underway, but initial indications show the facts and circumstances do not appear to support details we have seen reported by media citing ‘official documents detailing the matter,’” U.S. Northern Command spokesman John Cornelio told online news outlet Task and Purpose, who first reported the command’s suspicions over the validity of the El Centro shooting.

Command officials have yet to identify the Marine involved in the shooting or the other individuals reportedly involved in the affair. “At this time, there are no known injuries to anyone and no additional details will be provided until the investigation is complete.” Mr. Cornelio said.

The Pentagon deployed 5,000 U.S. troops to the southern border last year on orders from the White House, later surging that number to 6,000 in March, a month after Mr. Trump declared the situation a national emergency in February. 

• Carlo Muñoz can be reached at cmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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