By Tarik Johnson
The FBI is looking into two shootings aimed at offices housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in San Antonio. Christopher Combs, FBI Special agent in charge, said in a news conference that an unknown number of persons and vehicles approached the private ICE offices on both sides of the 410 interstate and fired numerous shots around 3am on Tuesday. As a result, the FBI opened an investigation as an “assault on a federal official case,” he said.
“I want to stress to everyone that any attempt at any violence or illegal activity against a federal official, the FBI will open a federal case and we will vigorously go after those that are responsible,” Mr. Combs said. There were federal employees present at the time, but no one was hurt, he said. Daniel Bible, the field office director for the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in San Antonio, declined to comment at the news conference on how many people were present at the time of the shooting. The buildings also house businesses unrelated to the agency, according to a statement from the FBI on Wednesday.
Combs said the preliminary investigation indicates that the shooters were specifically targeting ICE because “all of the shots that we have found were on the floors where ICE has offices, so there is no question it is a very targeted attack.” According to the BBC, in a statement ICE blamed the shootings on "political rhetoric" and "misinformation" about the Trump administration's detention policies.
Bullet holes can be seen in several windows at the buildings located near Brookhaven Drive, in northeast San Antonio. A picture tweeted by Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, shows a bullet hole in a window at one of the offices targeted.
The building is mainly used for executive and administrative purposes, ICE said.
According to the Washington Examiner, the shooting is the latest of four recent attacks at ICE facilities across the country. The three previous incidents happened in DC, Tacoma, and Aurora, Colorado within days of each other in July.
Given the current climate, FBI investigators fear there could be more attacks, Mr. Combs said.
"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," he said.