Marine Cleared in Border Killing

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MARFA, Texas: A marine who shot and killed a teenage Mexican goat herder acted in self-defense, a grand jury ruled yesterday. Although they lost the case, the incident has created new respect for the Texas Rangers, who rallied behind the teenager Esequiel Hernandes Jr.— presenting evidence in his favor. It was a peculiar twist, since the Rangers had previously been considered "legendarily racist in their dealings along the border," according to TIME's Sam Gwynne, who has been following the case.

Hernandes was shot by Marine Cpl. Clemente Banuelos, on a drug surveillance mission with three other marines, after the goatherder twice fired a .22-caliber rifle at the group and was about to do so again. But Hernandes supporters — and the Rangers — say the teen had been simply taking target practice while herding his goats, and had not seen the camouflaged marines. All military border missions were suspended after the May 20 killing, prompting a re-evaluation of using soldiers to combat drug trafficking in civilian areas. A House immigration subcommittee plans to hold a hearing on the shooting next month.