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ICE agent shoots immigrant in face as morning arrest in Brooklyn goes awry

An ICE agent shot a Mexican immigrant in Gravesend.

A Mexican immigrant was shot in the face and hand by an ICE agent as they tried to arrest his mother’s boyfriend in Brooklyn on Thursday morning, police say.

A second Mexican immigrant, apparently was taken into custody by police after he allegedly fought with the ICE officers attempts to arrest him, police said. Armando Gaspera Unando, 36, was taken into custody by police after a brief stand-off, with charges pending, law enforcement sources said. Unando is an undocumented immigrant, according to family members.

The wounded man was identified by family at Eric Diaz, 26, of West 12th Street. He was rushed to Maimonides Hospital in stable condition after the bullet was deflected by the victim’s hand, but still entered his cheek and lodged in his neck.

Eric Diaz was shot in the face by an ICE agent on Feb. 6, according to his family. (Photo courtesy of Diaz’s family)

ICE agents came for Unando because, the family believes, he recently received a ticket for driving without a license. Family members said the court allowed him to go and said he would “only have to pay fines.”

However, ICE agents apparently were able to get the address of the family and came for Unando.

ESU cops arrive after brief stand-off led to a Mexican immigrant to surrender to police. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The officers arrived at about 8:15 a.m. in front of the West 12th Street home where the family resides. Witnesses now say two officers attempted to make the arrest, and the individual resisted.

Avi Zlita, who emigrated to the U.S. from Syria 26 years ago, told amNY Metro saw the entire incident after the ICE agents struck the back of his Chevy Suburban with their Mustang on West 12th Street. Zlita still had blood on his sleeve after trying to help the wounded immigrant.

Zlita said Armando was trying to get into an Uber when the ICE officers pulled up behind them and struck Zlita’s vehicle.

“He was right there and the officer pulled a gun, and shot the guy. It just didn’t look professional. He wouldn’t tell the guy why they were arresting him,” Zlita said.

According to Zlita, the ICE officers “tried to chase the guy down, but he resisted and at first I was going to help the officers. They struggled with him. They Tased and pepper sprayed him about 20 times, but he got away and tried to run into the house.”

“The guy struggled with him, but he wouldn’t surrender so the other guy wouldn’t take it any more and he punched one of the officers,” he added. “The other guy pulled a gun and shot him in the face.”

Zlita still had blood on his shirt sleeve from trying to help the wounded man. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The brother of the wounded man, Kevin Yanez Cruz, said he and his brother were standing in the doorway of the home and were watching the fight between the officers and Unando in the street.

“They were looking for Armando, so they tackled him and he didn’t want to go and they tried to cuff him and they pepper sprayed and Tased him,” Cruz said. “Before Armando was running into the house, they were still fighting and the officer pulled his gun and shot my brother [Diaz] in the cheek. The gun [was] literally right on the side of my head when it went off.”

“My brother was not in trouble – he is here legally,” he continued, “My brother pays taxes – he’s been here since he’s 18. This cop aimed for the kill.”

Video taken from across the street captured the struggle between the ICE officers and their suspect. Video viewed by AMNewYork showed Diaz come off the stoop of the house and punch one of the officers in the face before he was shot.

The NYPD is investigating the scene and they took Unando to the 62nd Precinct for further investigation. It was not known if he would be turned over to ICE.

@ICEgov says agents were looking for “a twice-removed illegal alien from Mexico with a 2011 assault conviction in New York City,” and discharged a firearm after being physically attacked.

Armando Gaspara Unando is taken into custody after he surrendered to police. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Kevin Yanez Cruz in orange sweatshirt, stands near where his brother was shot, bloody cloth on the floor where he was treated for his wound. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
An ICE agent shot a Mexican national after he and his brother fought with the officers who were trying to apprehend him on West 12th Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn. NYPD investigators probe the incident. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Todd Maisel