An early-morning shooting at two Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement sites is being investigated as a targeted attack on federal employees as recent immigration raids and restrictions inflame anti-ICE protests.
“Numerous rounds” were fired at two ICE-linked buildings in San Antonio around 3am local time on Tuesday, authorities have confirmed. One building housed ICE offices, while the other was home to ICE contractor GEO Group. Federal employees were onsite at work despite the hour, and there were a few close calls though no casualties. The FBI is investigating the shooting as an “assault on a federal official case.”
“Had the bullets gone two inches in another direction, we would be here today talking about the murder of a federal official,” FBI special agent Christopher Combs told a news conference, adding that all the shots discovered so far hit floors where ICE was operating – all the way up to the 14th floor – suggesting the shooters “did some research” before targeting the facility. “[I don’t] think there is a question they knew which floors the ICE offices were on,” he said.
Initial reports claimed a suspect had been arrested shortly after the incident, though local media later reported the individual had been questioned and let go. Instead, information on “an unknown number of individuals in an unknown number of vehicles” is being sought.
“To fire indiscriminately into any building, let alone a federal facility, is not an act of protest, it’s an act of violence,” Combs continued. “We are concerned that there could be additional attacks.” Immigration raids on Mississippi food processing plants last week that rounded up 680 illegal workers – plus new rules restricting the ability of legal immigrants to receive welfare benefits – have triggered protest from Antifa and other groups that consider themselves the protectors of immigrants.
“Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts,” ICE San Antonio field office director Daniel Bible said in a statement.
Last month, elderly Antifa activist Willem van Spronsen was shot by police as he hurled Molotov cocktails at an ICE detention center and cars parked outside in Tacoma, Washington, just a few hours after the conclusion of a peaceful protest against the agency. Some members of the anti-Trump #Resistance lionized the thug, and an agitator at a protest on Monday outside GEO Group’s Broward County office reportedly threatened the company’s former general counsel and his children by name.