One year ago this week, South Texas native Jaime Zapata was on assignment in Mexico City for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. He and fellow agent Victor Avila were riding in a bullet-proof SUV on a popular Mexican highway when attackers forced them off the road, spraying dozens of rounds inside through an opened window and killing Zapata.
How the assailants gained access inside the car remains under investigation. But The Fronteras Desk in San Antonio reports that some say things could have turned out differently.
"It should have gone another way," according to Trent Kimball, president and CEO of Texas Armoring Corporation. "You don’t want to place blame on someone that’s no longer with us, but all this could have been avoided just by not stopping the vehicle at all or not trying to open the window or anything like that."
A large chunk of Kimball's business is in Mexico. He says as far as he can tell the car did its job, since attackers riddled it with their AK-47s but did not pierce the armor. He says it was human error when the doors unlocked after Zapata put the SUV in park.
"If you are in an accident, those door locks are going to pop open," said Kimball. "But you’re able to lock yourself in the vehicle using our dead-bolt locking door system."
He says it’s just a matter of having the car correctly set up. ICE declined an interview. The agency issued a statement praising Zapata’s five years of service.