Authorities: Man shot in face during immigration operation

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NEW YORK (AP) — 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 in the Bensonhurst neighborhood. Federal authorities were trying to arrest GasparAvendano-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 accused of interfering with Avendano-Hernandez’s arrest.

By Thursday evening, one of the officers had been treated and released, while the other was still in the hospital.

That man, whose name was not released, received 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.

City Hall spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said in email that “an ICE official shot someone and minutes later they attempted to point the finger at the NYPD.”

“If that’s not further proof that they’re simply a mouthpiece for a man who lies hundreds of times a day and has absolutely no regard for public safety, I don’t know what is,” she said.

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This story has been corrected to show Avendano-Hernandez’s first name is spelled Gaspar, not Gasper.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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