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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The family of a 32-year-old woman shot and killed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent in Chula Vista, California Friday is outraged by what they believe was an unjustified shooting.
Police and family members confirmed that Chula Vista resident Valeria "Monique" Alvarado, also known as Valeria Tachiquin, was the woman killed in the agent-involved shooting around 1 p.m. Friday.
Chula Vista officials said the shooting happened in the middle of the street in a residential area after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was allegedly assaulted by a woman driving a vehicle. Officials said Border Patrol agents were serving a felony warrant in the area when Alvarado allegedly intentionally tried to run over an agent. Alvarado was not the subject of the warrant.
CBP Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said the agent was carried several hundred yards on the hood of the car before he fired his weapon at the woman.
"The suspect was armed with a vehicle, and literally ran our agent down," Scott said. "He was carried several hundred yards before he discharged his weapon through the windshield of the vehicle."
Alvarado was killed in the shooting. The agent was hospitalized and his current condition is unknown.
In spite of information from Chula Vista officials, Alvarado's family has a very different story about what happened on Moss Street Friday. Her husband, Gilbert Alvarado, is furious about what happened to his wife - the mother of his five children. He believes the agent who shot her overreacted.
"My wife got killed for no reason," Gilbert said Friday night. "Show me that my wife had a gun or something that threatened the guy's life where he had to use lethal force against her."
Alvarado's family confirmed the warrant had nothing to do with her and the mother of five would never intentionally hurt anyone for any reason. Alvarado's cousin, Bernice Ratcliffe, is trying to make sense of something she believes was senseless.
"I think we're all shocked and we want answers," Ratcliffe said. "They didn't have to shoot her!"
Witnesses in the area at the time of the shooting said they saw Alvarado slowly driving in reverse as the agent opened fire on her at least six times.
"As the car was backing up the officer was in the street walking toward the car, and discharging," recalled witness Prince Watson.
"I heard it, 'Pow, pow,' and just told my family to get down," said witness Ayanna Evans.
Witnesses believe Alvarado may have accidentally struck the agent and panicked when he told her to stop and pulled out his gun. They said the agent was in plain clothes and was not displaying a badge.
"The whole thing didn't look right," added Evans.
Meanwhile, Christian Ramirez of the Southern Border Communities Coalition said the organization stands behind Alvarado's family and will help them seek justice.
"We will do everything in our power to make sure the investigation is conducted in a transparent fashion, and the family gets the justice they deserve," said Ramirez.
Still, that doesn't erase the pain and anger Gilbert feels after losing his wife.
"Whoever shot my wife — whoever he is — that guy needs to get shot," he said.
On Saturday, Alvarado's loved ones set up a small memorial of flowers, photos and messages near the area where she was killed. Near the memorial, many neighbors, friends and family called Alvarado "innocent" and were still in shock by the way she was killed.