Agent hospitalized after dodgeball-sized rock thrown over border wall

SAN DIEGO – A U.S. Border Patrol agent was knocked off his patrol vehicle and hospitalized after getting hit with a large rock Saturday night, according to border officials.

“Since it was very busy this agent was actually patrolling by himself on an ATV when an individual on the Mexican side through a rock hitting him on the chest,” said Eduardo Olmos, Border Patrol Public Affairs Officer.

The unknown person hurled a “dodgeball-sized” rock around 8:40 p.m., the impact caused the agent to fall off the ATV.

“The ATV flipped over and landed on top of the agent. The agent was able to push the ATV off of himself but had to await back-up to extract himself from the rocking assault,” a news release stated.

Other agents went to the location and used “non-impact crowd dispersal munitions” to get rid of a crowd of people on the south side of the border to leave the area, Scappechio said. The crowd had allegedly attempted to enter the U.S. illegally, he said. Mexican authorities also assisted.

“Last night was a foggy night. Smugglers actually try to take advantage of low visibility to try to get their groups across,” said Olmos.

SEE: Border fence opened up for families: 

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Mexico US Border fence opened for families
U.S. Border patrol agents open a single gate to allow families to hug and talk along the Mexico and U.S border in Tijuana, Mexico, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
U.S. resident Brian Houston arrives to marry Evelia Reyes as Reyes' daughter Alexis looks on when U.S. Border patrol agents opened a single gate in the border wall to allow selected families short visits visit along the U.S. Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, U.S., November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A member of the U.S. Border patrol agent watches as she open a single gate to allow families to hug and converse along the Mexico and U.S border in Tijuana, Mexico, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
U.S. resident Brian Houston marries Evelia Reyes as U.S. Border Patrol agents open a single gate in the border wall to allow selected families to visit along the U.S.-Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, U.S., November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. resident Brian Houston marries Evelia Reyes as U.S. Border Patrol agents open a single gate in the border wall to allow selected families to visit along the U.S.-Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, U.S., November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. resident Brian Houston marries Evelia Reyes as U.S. Border patrol agents open a single gate for in the border wall to allow selected families to visit along the U.S.-Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, U.S., November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. resident Brian Houston marries Evelia Reyes as U.S. Border patrol agents open a single gate to allow families to hug and converse along the Mexico and U.S border in Tijuana, Mexico, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
Bride Evelia Reyes and groom Brian Houston, living on different sides of the US-Mexico border, stand for a family portrait after getting married during a briefly reunited during the 'Opening the Door of Hope' event at the border fence gate in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico on November 18, 2017. The event was organized by the Border Angels migrant advocacy group, in coordination with the Tijuana city government and the US Border Patrol. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. resident Brian Houston marries Evelia Reyes as U.S. Border Patrol agents open a single gate in the border wall to allow selected families to visit along the U.S.-Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, U.S., November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Bride Evelia Reyes and groom Brian Houston, living on different sides of the US-Mexico border, stand for a family portrait after getting married during a briefly reunited during the 'Opening the Door of Hope' event at the border fence gate in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico on November 18, 2017. The event was organized by the Border Angels migrant advocacy group, in coordination with the Tijuana city government and the US Border Patrol. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Bride Evelia Reyes (C) and groom Brian Houston (out of frame), living on different sides of the US-Mexico border, speak after getting married during a briefly reunited during the 'Opening the Door of Hope' event at the border fence gate in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico on November 18, 2017. The event was organized by the Border Angels migrant advocacy group, in coordination with the Tijuana city government and the US Border Patrol. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A family embraces as U.S. Border patrol agents open a single gate in the border wall to allow selected families to embrace along the U.S. Mexico border at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, U.S., November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Border patrol agents open a single gate to allow families to hug and converse along the Mexico and U.S border in Tijuana, Mexico, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
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The injured agent was taken to a hospital to be treated for possible broken ribs. He was released Sunday morning and has been placed on administrative leave pending recovery from his injuries, according to Scappechio.

Federal authorities are working with Mexico investigators to find the attacker.

“In the last 24 hours, in the area of the assault alone, approximately seven breaches were made to U.S. border security infrastructure and more than 100 arrests were made by Border Patrol agents,” according to the news release.

“This is an all too common occurrence,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott. “In the fiscal year 2017, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents were assaulted 83 times in the performance of their duties – 52 times in the fiscal year 2016.  The safety and well-being of our agents remains our top priority, and we will work diligently with our law enforcement partners to bring the assailant to justice.”

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