Father, son charged with Texas ICE agent shooting

July 5, 2012 - 6:36 PM

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A father directed his 18-year-old son and another teen to grab guns and shoot into a vehicle parked near their South Texas home, wounding a federal agent who was conducting surveillance, prosecutors alleged Thursday when filing charges against the two men.

The injured U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, Kelton Harrison, was targeted while watching for an anticipated drug deal early Tuesday at a property near Hargill, about 25 miles northeast of the U.S.-Mexico border town of McAllen. Harrison sped away but his pursuers followed, shooting at his vehicle until he lost control.

Prosecutors revealed details of the shooting Thursday as Pedro Alvarado, 41, and his 18-year-old son, Arnoldo Alvarado, appeared in federal court in McAllen. A 16-year-old boy also accused of firing at the agent appeared in juvenile court the same day.

A criminal complaint alleges that the 16-year-old, whose identity is being withheld because of his age, fired about six shots from a .22 caliber rifle and that Arnoldo Alvarado fired "numerous" shots from a 9mm handgun as they rode in a vehicle being driven by his father. The vehicle had its headlights off in the pre-dawn darkness as it drove by Harrison, according to the complaint.

The two men are charged with assault of a federal officer and knowingly using and carrying a firearm during a violent crime. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the assault charge and a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison on the weapons count. Father and son requested court-appointed attorneys and a judge ordered them held pending detention hearings scheduled for Tuesday.

The younger teen was charged with attempted capital murder in state juvenile court and was ordered detained pending another detention hearing later this month.

Arnoldo Alvarado told authorities that his father spotted what he considered a suspicious vehicle and told him and the other teen "to get the guns," according to the complaint.

Harrison, who was shot in the back, was able to drive for several miles before he lost control of his sport utility vehicle. Other agents arrived on the scene and one rushed Harrison to the hospital, where he underwent surgery. An ICE spokeswoman said Thursday that Harrison's condition was "improving."

After the shooting, authorities searched a home in Hargill and arrested the two men and the 16-year-old. Authorities said they also found two illegal immigrants from El Salvador at the home, listed in online records as material witnesses in the case, but did not say if they were suspected to be involved in the shooting.