Gravesend man shot by ICE agent while serving deportation order

February 6, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
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GRAVESEND — A man was shot this morning in Gravesend by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent while the agent was serving a deportation order on his mother’s boyfriend.

According to a statement from ICE, its Fugitive Operations Team was, “attempting to arrest Gasper Avendano-Hernandez, a twice-removed illegal alien from Mexico with a 2011 assault conviction in New York City,” when it “discharged at least one firearm … when officers were physically attacked.”

According to ABC, the incident occurred at around 8:15 a.m., on West 12th Street between Quentin Road and Highlawn Avenue.

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According to the New York Daily News, Avendano-Hernandez lived in the house with his girlfriend, whose sons Eric Diaz-Cruz, 26, and Kevin Yaniz, 19, got involved in the situation.

The News said that as ICE officers attempted to detain Avendano-Hernandez, they apparently got into a scuffle with Diaz. The agent fired his gun, hitting 26-year-old Diaz in the face.

According to the Daily News, a video shows one of the brothers struggling with the two agents, cursing at them in Spanish, when an agent wearing a light grey hoodie and a hat zaps him with a Taser as he is propped against a car.

Photos courtesy of Sunset Park ICE Watch

Diaz was transported to Maimonides Medical Center for treatment.

Avendano-Hernandez had been arrested by the NYPD on Feb. 3, according to ICE, “for possession of a forged instrument, a felony criminal charge. ICE attempted to lodge an immigration detainer after his most recent arrest; however the subject was released from local custody before ICE could lodge a detainer. This forced ICE officers to locate him on the streets of New York rather than in the safe confines of a jail.

“Avendano-Hernandez is currently in ICE custody, along with one additional individual whose identity has not been released,” the statement from ICE continued, adding that two ICE officers were brought to a local hospital for treatment following the incident, which is under investigation by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.”

ICE is still in Brooklyn, according to the Sunset Park ICE Watch, which wrote, “Immigration activists have photographed multiple vehicles affiliated with federal immigration authorities outside of Maimonides Hospital where a Brooklyn man is being treated after ICE officers shot him … Immigration activists are now on site monitoring the suspicious ICE activity.”

In addition, Bay Ridge for Social Justice announced an “emergency gathering HAPPENING NOW at Maimonides” via its Facebook page, noting that the victim of the shooting “remains in critical condition. … There are 7 ICE cars waiting for him here.”

The incident stirred the ire of Councilmember Justin Brannan, who tweeted, “So let me get this straight: ICE comes into Brooklyn like a bunch of cowboys, shoots a person in the face and then blames the NYPD, who had nothing to do with this?! Their recklessness has no place in this city. And for them to blame the NYPD is bullshit.”

Borough President Eric Adams also expressed dismay over the incident.

“I share in the horror of many Brooklyn residents who woke up to this news, and believe that any attempt to pass the blame on to the NYPD for what happened is deplorable. Let’s be clear here: NYPD did not pull the trigger, ICE did,” he said, adding, “We must hold all law enforcement officers to the highest standards of professionalism, and ensure the safety of our immigrant communities.”

In addition, La Colmema, a community-based organization working with day laborers, domestic workers, and other low-wage immigrant workers, issued a statement regarding the shooting.

“News that ICE shot unarmed people is distressing and causing fear in our communities,” said Yesenia Mata, the group’s executive director. “Why are ICE agents resorting to force when they are the ones who are detaining and deporting fathers, mothers, sons, daughters who are in the country just to provide for their families? The public’s safety is a priority, but we demand answers from ICE. No one should be afraid to hear a knock at their door in the early hours of the morning and worry that not only they will be detained but also shot in the face.”

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