Chase ends with gunshots at U.S.-Canadian border crossing

| Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The U.S.-Canadian border crossing near Blaine, WA, closed for two hours Tuesday, Jan. 24, following a high-speed chase and a shooting, news sources reported.

It was the second time the border crossing had been closed because of an incident since Jan. 18.

The chase began six miles south of Blaine on Interstate 5, where police matched a description of two suspects in a California homicide investigation and attempted to pull over their vehicle.

The driver took off, reaching 100 mph heading for the border crossing.

According to The Seattle Times, an alert U.S. border agent shot one of the men in the vehicle when the car failed to stop approaching a checkpoint. The Times reported the other man in the vehicle was caught trying to flee the vehicle on foot, just a few steps short of the border crossing with British Columbia, Canada.

Meanwhile, unarmed Canadian border agents retreated from their posts as a precaution. The act of retreat has been their modus operandi of late as they battle with the Canadian government over what their union says is a necessity to carry firearms.

With what happened just a few feet away on the U.S. side, it’s not surprising the Canadian agents want to carry guns.

California police confirmed the identity of the two men involved in the chase. Ishtiaq Hussain, 38, and Jose Antonio Barajas, 22, face numerous charges including failure to stop at a border approach. Hussain was wounded by the shot from the U.S. agent, The Associated Press reported.

Both men were extradited to Richmond, CA, where they are suspects in a Saturday, Jan. 21, shooting death of a 43-year-old man.

Border authorities at the same crossing had a scare Jan. 18, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police found a vehicle containing a handgun, two shotguns and a rifle and suspected the driver had a bomb. The bomb scare turned out to be unfounded in that case.

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