ICE officer wounded during a stop near a Tennessee grocery store

Posted at 9:18 PM, Sep 05, 2019

An ICE officer opened fire and wounded a man in a Tennessee grocery store parking lot as the officer attempted to make an immigration arrest Thursday.

The officer fired two shots after a driver he was trying to arrest during a fugitive operation drove toward the officer while fleeing the scene, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said, citing initial reports.

While ICE operations are a regular occurrence across the United States, it's rare to hear of shots fired in public places as they unfold.

The FBI said a Mexican national was struck by gunfire in a Food Lion parking lot outside Nashville in Antioch. He turned himself in later and was receiving medical attention at a local hospital. The individual was not arrested and has not been charged by the FBI.

"Conclusions about the shooting incident should not be drawn until the investigation is complete," the agency said.

An FBI spokesperson earlier said the agency is now investigating a possible assault on a federal officer.

The FBI is the lead agency in the investigation, Cox said, and federal prosecutors will decide whether any criminal charges are filed.

ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility, which looks into all officer-involved shootings involving ICE, also is investigating, Cox said.

Investigators cordoned off the parking lot with crime scene tape and combed the scene for evidence.

The target of Thursday's ICE operation was a 39-year-old Mexican national who'd been deported multiple times, Cox said.

The truck he was driving is now in FBI custody, said Matt Foster, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Nashville office. The vehicle was found abandoned with blood inside, an ICE official said.

Nashville Mayor David Briley slammed the shooting in a statement, CNN affiliate WZTV reported.

"This is exactly what we don't want happening in our city," he said.

Cox declined to comment on the mayor's statement. He noted that Nashville is a jurisdiction that doesn't cooperate with ICE.

"Any time an officer has to pull over a vehicle and make an arrest on the street," Cox said, "that is the most dangerous way. ... This is a rare example, but it's nevertheless an example of the increased dangers that take place when this agency is forced to do more at-large arrests to take persons into custody."