According to investigators, multiple shots were fired at the high-rise office building and appeared to be aimed at the upper floors where the government agency is located.
No injuries were incurred as a result of the shooting, but FBI agents described the incident as a “targeted attack.”
In a statement following the incident, FBI Special Agent In Charge Chris Combs said, “This is no question a very targeted attack. It’s not a secret facility. You can go online; it’s out there.”
The GEO Group, a contractor for ICE who helps provide border patrol facilities among other services, was also hit by the gunfire. The private company maintains their Central Office Region headquarters in the high-rise building as well.
In a statement to The Texan, a spokesperson for GEO Group said of the shooting, “The safety of our employees and those entrusted to our care is our highest priority. We are grateful that no one was harmed, and we are fully cooperating with the FBI and local authorities. We are deeply troubled by yet another targeted act of violence, and we hope that the perpetrator is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, the dishonest narrative and lies that are being spread about the services our company provides on behalf of the federal government has led to the endangerment of our employees, of government employees, and the public.”
This statement comes following allegations of poor conditions and mistreatment at border patrol facilities along the southern border.
In June, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) characterized immigrant detention and processing facilities as “concentration camps” in an Instagram Live video, citing instances of overcrowding and shortages of resources after visiting the border. She also made unsubstantiated claims that immigrants were being told to drink out of toilets.
The FBI and San Antonio Police Department are currently investigating the incident and searching for suspects in connection with the case.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Antonio Field Office Director, Daniel Bible, attributed the shooting to “political rhetoric and misinformation” perpetuated by media outlets.
In an official statement, Bible said, “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.”
He continued by saying, “ICE officers put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe. This disturbing public discourse shrouds our critical law enforcement function and unnecessarily puts our officers’ safety at risk.”
The idea was further reiterated by Special Agent Combs who said of the matter, “We cannot allow political discourse to lead us to the point of violence, where federal employees – innocent people doing their jobs – are put in harm’s way.”
Though a suspect was detained after the shooting, the individual was released shortly after being apprehended.
The FBI is encouraging anyone with information about the incident to contact the FBI field office in San Antonio, as officials have expressed concerns about additional attacks.
The shooting in San Antonio comes just weeks after attacks on other ICE facilities in Tacoma, Washington and Aurora Springs, Colorado.
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Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.