Man killed in shootout at border had Chinese men hidden in pickup

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SAN DIEGO — Police Wednesday identified the man killed in a shootout with border officers near the San Ysidro Port of Entry and released new details about the deadly gun battle.

Travis James Eckstein, a 23-year-old US citizen, was identified as the gunman.

Eckstein had two people in his truck at the time of his deadly shootout with  Customs and Border Protection officers, San Diego Police Department revealed. The two passengers were interviewed and eventually turned over to CBP officers. Both were Chinese citizens, according to CBP officials.

Eckstein was driving into the US from Mexico when he refused to stop for CBP Monday around 7:45 p.m., according to SDPD. He rammed into another vehicle as he tried to escape but got blocked in. That’s when officers say Eckstein opened fire.

“The suspect began firing a gun out of his vehicle towards the officers, then exited his vehicle and continued firing at the officers,” San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs said. “The officers returned fire, striking the suspect.”

Eckstein’s truck was riddled with bullets and he was pronounced dead at the scene after CBP officers and San Diego Fire-Rescue gave medical aid. Seven CBP officers were involved in the shooting.

Francisco Valdez, the man inside the truck that Eckstein rammed as he tried to escape, shared his story with FOX 5 Tuesday.

“A lot of things went through my head; so, I just decided to run,” Valdez said. He said his instincts from live combat experience in Iraq kicked in and he got out of his truck looking for cover just before the shots rang out.

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