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Authorities seek man who shot at U.S. border officials

The U.S.-Canadian border is marked by a cleared line through a forest that continues into the mountains near Sumas, Wash., and Abbotsford, B.C.

Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press

Police on both sides of the Canada-U.S. line are still searching for a man who fled on foot after firing at American border officials on Tuesday morning.

"The search for the suspect is ongoing," U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Milne said on Tuesday, adding that dozens of personnel are involved in the search.

The incident began shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, when U.S. border agents patrolling a rural area east of Sumas, Wash., encountered two men dressed in camouflage outfits and carrying backpacks.

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One of the men fired at the agents before fleeing into nearby woods, while the second was taken into custody. Nobody was injured. American authorities requested assistance from the Abbotsford police in relation to the incident, which occurred about three kilometres east of the Abbotsford-Huntingdon border crossing in Washington state, in an area directly south of Abbotsford. RCMP are also involved.

"There was a potential that the other suspect may attempt to cross into Canada and that's why we have deployed the resources we have – it's precautionary," Constable Ian MacDonald of the Abbotsford Police Department said on Tuesday.

Police helicopters and vehicles converged in south Abbotsford. Police are using a local church as a command centre.

Asked if a suspect could still make his way across the border in a rural, wooded area, Constable MacDonald said resources have been deployed in an attempt to prevent that from happening.

"With the deployment we have, I think we have resourced it appropriately. I think it would be pretty difficult. … they are not going to be driving a Buick through that stretch of land. And if they cross into Canada, they have been on the run now for close to three hours. So I would think they would be pretty physically taxed and that it would be pretty difficult for them not to be observed."

The area is known as a corridor for illegal movement of goods and people.

"I think Canadian law enforcement agencies would tell you that's an area of interest for them as well – whether that be for illegal immigration or drugs or currency smuggling or guns – those remote areas are certainly an area that a border patrol concentrates on," Mr. Milne said.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Wendy Stueck has covered technology and business and now reports on British Columbia issues including natural resources, aboriginal issues and urban affairs. More

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