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The New York Times

The New York Times


U.S. Settles With Family In Fatal Border Shooting
Published: August 12, 1998

The Department of the Navy and the Justice Department have agreed to settle the claim of the family of Esequiel Hernandez Jr. in the 1997 shooting death of Mr. Hernandez by a marine on May 20, 1997.

The settlement will be paid out in the form of an annuity that is expected to total $1.9 million, said the Hernandez family's lawyer, Bill Weinacht of Pecos.

The shooting of Mr. Hernandez, 18, by Cpl. Clemente Banuelos was the first civilian killing by American military personnel since the killings at Kent State University in Ohio in 1970.

Mr. Hernandez was herding his family's goats less than a mile from his home in Radford, Tex., 200 miles southeast of El Paso, when Corporal Banuelos and three other marines first saw him. The marines, heavily camouflaged and on a drug interception mission along the Texas-Mexico border under the supervision of the United States Border Patrol, followed Mr. Hernandez for approximately 20 minutes. They said Mr. Hernandez, who was carrying a .22-caliber rifle, fired twice in their direction and that Corporal Baneulos then killed him with a single shot from his M-16 rifle.

State and Federal investigations followed, but no charges were filed.