FBI officials said on Tuesday they have opened an investigation into shots fired into Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in San Antonio. Authorities described it as a “targeted attack” against federal employees.
Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the San Antonio division of the FBI, said an unknown number of individuals in an unknown number of vehicles fired numerous rounds into two ICE offices on the Northeast Side at around 3 a.m.
Despite the time of the shooting, FBI officials said federal employees were present in the building. The offices are located near each other, near Loop 410, in commercial buildings with several other businesses.
No injuries were reported but Combs said that if the bullets would have been “two inches in another direction, we could be talking about the murder of a federal official.”
“These shootings were cowardly, brazen, violent acts, absolutely without justification and a threat to our entire community,” said Combs. “An attempt to attack federal employees is a federal crime with serious consequences. The FBI will relentlessly pursue every lead in this case to find the individuals who are responsible.”
An individual was questioned at the scene but authorities later realized he was not involved and released him. Combs said he believed the shooter or shooters “did some research” and targeted the facility.
“I don’t think there is a question that they knew which floor the ICE office is on,” said Combs during a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the scene, adding that all the rounds that were recovered were found on the floor that ICE occupies. “To fire indiscriminately into any building is not an act of a protest but an act of violence.”
— USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (@USCISCuccinelli) August 13, 2019
Combs said the agency is concerned about further attacks on ICE agents across the country. He asked for the public’s help in identifying the shooter or shooters and provided the following information for anonymous tips: 210-225-6741 or at www.fbi.gov/tips.
“Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts,” said Nina Pruneda, a spokesperson with ICE. “ICE officers put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe. This disturbing public discourse shrouds our critical law enforcement function and unnecessarily puts our officers’ safety at risk.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez first described ICE detention centers as concentration camps weeks before on Twitter along the side the Holocaust remembrance phrase “never again.” She later backtracked and said she was not trying to invoke the Holocaust as the moral equivalent of immigrant detention.
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