EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Authorities are investigating whether a man who fired at U.S. Border Patrol agents died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or the exchange of gunfire, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday night.
At about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the man was traveling north on N.M. Highway 185 and allegedly failed to stop at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Hatch, the news release said.
When agents attempted to stop the silver Chevrolet Impala, the driver led them on a chase and allegedly fired at the border agents, who returned fire. The chase ended in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
The man was taken to a hospital, where he died. CBP said it is unclear if the man died from the exchange of gunfire or from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
According to KETV in Omaha, Neb., local authorities there confirmed that the man who was killed was 36-year-old Benjamin Marley Manley, a wanted fugitive accused of trying to shoot a woman outside a convenience store in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is just across across the state line from Omaha.
According to a notice issued by the U.S. Marshals Office, Manley “has a history of shooting at police officers.” He was wanted on charges of attempted murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and felon in possession of a firearm. The notice said Manley was also known as Christopher Reeves.
CBP also said Manley had a female passenger in the vehicle. She was not injured.
On Wednesday morning, KTSM 9 News spoke with two women who claimed to be the driver’s sister an cousin and who identified him as Benjamin Manley. They wanted to remain anonymous and said Manley’s passenger called them after the shooting, saying she was frightened.
“That she was scared that he was shooting at the police and that they’re chasing him. They haven’t came back for her yet but she thinks they’re coming back. I said, ‘OK, well, I don’t know the situation, if he kidnapped you, you need to explain that to them so you don’t get in trouble. I don’t know the situation it’s just she had my number because I’m the last person he called.”
The alleged family member also said Manley was fleeing from law enforcement due to prior convictions, and said the U.S. Marshals had a warrant out for his arrest for attempted murder in Council Bluffs, Iowa that happened this past Thanksgiving.
“He did 13 years for shooting at a U.S. Marshal, stolen vehicles, guns and things so he knew with that charge of attempted murder he was going back to prison for the rest of his life,” one of the anonymous callers said, adding that they were just trying to find where Manley was and learn his condition.
“There was people that were in the area I guess and they said one of them heard that he shot himself. I’m going to be honest with you, he talked about that. He talked about shooting himself, so I’m really scared,” one of the women said.
According to KETV, the U.S. Marshals confirmed they are no longer looking for Manley.
Additionally, KETV reported Wednesday that an alleged accomplice of Manley’s had been arrested in Council Bluffs and was being held at the Pottawattamie County Jail, also known as “Squirrel Cage Jail.”
Meghan Bressman allegedly was with Manley the night he allegedly opened fire in Council Bluffs.
Border Report asked a Border Patrol spokesman if he could confirm whether the man involved in Wednesday’s incident was Manley, but was referred to the CBP statement issued Wednesday night.
“At this time we can get only speak to the statement as this is still an active investigation,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent George Gomez, and agency spokesman.
El Paso Sector Chief Gloria Chavez said no agents were injured in the “situation involving the failure to yield,” but that one unidentified person had been taken to the hospital.
CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and DHS Office of Inspector General responded to the scene. The incident is under investigation.
After learning of Manley’s death during a follow-up phone call, Manley’s cousin told KTSM the family is grateful no Border Patrol agents or anyone else was injured in today’s incident.
This is a developing story. Look for updates as more information becomes available.