Police: Man shot in face during immigration operation

Posted: Updated:

Federal authorities are investigating the shooting of a man in Gravesend that involved a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer.

Officials say the shooting happened around 8:15 a.m. Thursday at 1755 W 12th St. A man was shot in the face during the confrontation, police say.

ICE released a statement, which said in part: "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."

The statement says that the NYPD arrested Avendando-Hernandez Feb. 3 for possession of a forged instrument. ICE also states that they made an attempt to lodge an immigration detainer after his most recent arrest, but he was released from local custody before they could do so.

Kevin Yanez Cruz says his brother, Eric Diaz, was the victim in the shooting.

MORE: Community rallies at Maimonides Medical Center for man shot in face by ICE agent

Immigration officials claim they were physically assaulted during the arrest but Yanez-Cruz claims they acted on impulse assuming his brother would try to harm them.

"I guess they saw my brother trying to help him, but I don't think he was trying to help him, because he was just standing there like me. I got hit in the face actually," said Yanez Cruz.

He says Avendando-Hernandez is their mother's boyfriend. Cruz says Avendando-Hernandez ran into the house when an officer came out of nowhere and tackled him. He says they used a stun gun on him and put him on the ground.

Witnesses say secondary agents then pointed a gun at Diaz and shot him in the face, hitting him in the cheek. The family believes he was shot because the agents thought Diaz was trying to help the mother's boyfriend escape.

Diaz and his girlfriend arrived on visa on Jan. 25 to visit. They have a visa to be here for six months, according to Cruz.

ICE says that Avendando-Hernandez is currently in custody along with an additional individual whose identity has not been released.

The agency says two ICE officers were transported to a hospital for treatment. Diaz's family tells News 12 he is expected to survive his injury.

The statement went on to say that the incident is being investigated by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.

AP wires contributed to this story.

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