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25 Years Ago Today, U.S. Marines Shot and Killed This U.S. Citizen on American Soil

May 18, 2022 (1 min read)

Every year around this time I remind readers: "In 1997, U.S. Marines patrolling the Texas-Mexican border as part of the war on drugs shot and killed Esequiel Hernández, Jr.  Mistaken for a drug runner, the 18 year old was, in fact, a U.S. citizen tending his family's goats with a .22 rifle.  He became the first American killed by U.S. military forces on native soil since the 1970 Kent State shootings.  The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, explores Hernandez's tragic death and its torturous aftermath.  His parents and friends, the Marines on patrol, and investigators discuss the dangers of militarizing the border and the death of one young man.  A co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting. An official selection of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival."  See also the 1998 USMC "Coyne Report,"  INVESTIGATION TO INQUIRE INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE JOINT TASK FORCE-6 (JTF-6) SHOOTING INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED ON 20 MAY 1997 NEAR THE BORDER BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO.