Federal authorities are investigating the shooting of a man in Brooklyn that involved a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, a case that is inflaming passions around New York City’s sanctuary policies.
The shooting happened around 8:15 a.m. Thursday at W 12th Street between Highlawn Ave. and Quentin Road in the Gravesend neighborhood. Federal authorities were trying to arrest Gasper Avendano-Hernandez, a Mexican accused of being in the country unlawfully.
ICE said two of its officers were “physically attacked” during the arrest and taken to the hospital. At least one of the officers opened fire during the confrontation, striking another man, Eric Diaz, accused of interfering with Avendano-Hernandez’s arrest.
That man, whose name was not released, suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening, authorities said. It was not clear whether he was armed.
ICE released a statement saying New York City police arrested Avendano-Hernandez on Monday on a felony charge of possessing a forged instrument.
Federal authorities “attempted to lodge an immigration detainer” for his deportation, but he was released from custody, ICE said in its statement.
“This forced ICE officers to locate him on the streets of New York rather than in the safe confines of a jail,” ICE said.
The shooting comes amid an escalating dispute between the administration of President Donald Trump and New York City over its sanctuary policies. ICE has expressed frustration in recent weeks that the city does not honor the vast majority of its detainer requests.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has said it complies with detainer requests for defendants only after they are convicted of a violent or serious felony. The city does not turn over defendants awaiting trial.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Thursday afternoon, several dozen immigrant advocates gathered for a protest outside Maimonides Medical Center in Boro Park, where the injured man was being treated under guard by ICE agents.
“Nothing is worth shooting a person in the face over,” said Alexander Rapapaort, executive director of Masbia. “And there is no justification for ICE agents to go into a hospital. There should be some places that are sacrosanct, where people can live and be treated in peace, knowing that deportation agents will not enter.”
Rapaport said that this is issue is meaningful to him, as Jews throughout history have at times been unwelcome, and only survived through sanctuary entities like shuls.
“The Viznitz shul in Grosswardein held many illegal immigrants, who were known as “tumer v’neelam,” because they had no documents. Particularly in this week of Parahas Beshalach, we should remember that we, like all people, were once immigrants.”
Yossi Stein, who lives near the hospital, told Hamodia he disagrees with the protestors.
“If people break the law and are under arrest, there are always law-enforcement agents guarding them, even i nhospitals” he said. “There is no evidence the agents have done anything wrong here.”