Car involved in pursuit
The car involved in the pursuit and fatal shooting, as seen outside the Campo service station. Courtesy OnScene.TV

The family of a San Diego man fatally shot by Border Patrol agents in Campo filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, alleging that he was unarmed and holding a cell phone when he was struck down.

Silvestre Estrada Vargas, 26, led Border Patrol agents on a May 14, 2021 pursuit, which began when agents attempted to stop a car after suspecting its driver of smuggling migrants, according to the complaint filed in San Diego federal court.

The lawsuit alleges that the chase led to a gas station at the intersection of Buckman Springs Road and state Route 94.

There, the agents allegedly opened fire “without any legal justification or threat to their safety,” striking Vargas. He was taken to a hospital, but died a short time later.

Two other men were in the car at the time, but were not hit by gunfire.

Border Patrol representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the complaint, Vargas had one hand on the steering wheel and was holding a phone to his ear when the gunfire started. It also alleges that he did not drive in a threatening manner so did not present a threat to the agents.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Vargas’ underage son, Vargas’ mother and the men in the car during the pursuit and shooting.

City News Service