Brooklyn officials demand answers after ICE agent shoots man in face during deportation fight

GRAVESEND, Brooklyn -- Community leaders are demanding answers after a Brooklyn man was shot in the face when he allegedly interfered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents making an arrest Thursday.

Protesters are expected back at Maimonedes Medical Center, where Eric Diaz-Cruz is being treated for a gunshot wound.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and other elected leaders held a news conference Friday morning to demand accountability from ICE, saying the shooting in the Gravesend section should never have happened in a sanctuary city like New York.

He also questioned why ICE agents are not equipped with body-worn cameras like the ones NYPD officers wear.



The shooting happened just before 8:15 a.m. on 12th Street, where authorities say the on-duty ICE agent fired his weapon while trying to serve a deportation order to Gaspar Avendano Hernandez.

As the officers attempted to detain Avendano Hernandez, they apparently got into a scuffle with his girlfriend's son, Eric Diaz-Cruz. The agent fired his gun, hitting the 26-year-old Cruz in the face.

He suffered non-life threatening injuries and remains hospitalized.

"He resisted because they didn't show him no papers, like 'Oh I'm the police,' no badge, no nothing, no warrant, no nothing," the victim's brother, Kevin Yanez Cruz, said. "They just tackled him, and that's why he reacted the way he reacted. He didn't say, 'Get down,' he didn't say nothing. And he didn't have nothing, my brother, he didn't have no weapons in his hands, nothing. The minute they're tackling him, they get up to the door step, I'm here, my brother is here, he thought I was going to get involved, and he pointed the gun at my brother and didn't even hesitate and pulled the trigger."

Avendano Hernandez was hit with a Taser and was taken into custody.

"ICE doing its own thing, creating havoc, in many cases, as they did here, creating danger, which they did here," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "They created a very dangerous situation that the NYPD had to come in and stabilize and address. It can't be part of their game plan to go and shoot someone who wasn't the person they were trying to pick up. That doesn't sound like that was handled particularly well."

The victim's family stood outside the hospital with angry protesters Thursday night.

"ICE coming in like a bunch of renegades and people are being hurt, we don't need ice in our communities," said Hawk Newsome, with Black Lives Matter.

There was no NYPD involvement in the shooting, though ICE agents reportedly contacted the NYPD. The investigation is ongoing.

"A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team discharged at least one firearm in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday morning when officers were physically attacked while attempting to arrest Gasper Avendando-Hernandez, a twice-removed illegal alien from Mexico with a 2011 assault conviction in New York City," ICE said in a statement. "The New York Police Department arrested Avendando-Hernandez Feb. 3 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. Avendando-Hernandez is currently in ICE custody, along with one additional individual whose identity has not been released. Two ICE officers were transported to a local hospital for treatment. This incident is being investigated by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility. Additional details are not available at this time."

Avendano Hernandez was stopped by the NYPD for driving with a forged Connecticut license plate earlier this week and he has a prior domestic violence arrest.

ICE learned of the license plate incident and began steps to deport him.

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