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Feds investigating 'very targeted attack' after shots fired into Texas ICE offices

An ICE spokesperson blamed the incident on 'political rhetoric and misinformation' about the agency

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Federal law enforcement officials said that shots fired at Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in San Antonio early Tuesday morning were the result of a "very targeted attack" against federal employees.

In a statement, the FBI and ICE confirmed earlier reports that shots were fired into the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office as well as into another building around the same time. The statement also noted that both buildings house other businesses that are "completely unrelated to ICE operations."

"These shootings were cowardly, brazen, violent acts, absolutely without justification and a threat to our entire community," special agent in charge Chris Combs of the FBI's San Antonio field office said in a statement. "An attempt to attack federal employees is a federal crime with serious consequences. The FBI will relentlessly pursue every lead in this case to find the individuals who are responsible."

At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Combs also dismissed the idea that the shots were fired randomly.

"This is no question a very targeted attack. It's not a secret facility, you can go online, it's out there," he said, according to WOAI-TV. "All of the shots that we have found are on the floors where ICE had offices."

"So they did some research, they knew what floors ICE was on, they knew what buildings they were and and they hit those," Combs added.

Combs also explained that, though there were no reported injuries, there were federal employees present in the building and if the shots had been just "two inches in another direction, we could be talking about the murder of a federal official."

Other law enforcement officials blamed the incident on the current political climate regarding federal immigration enforcement.

"Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts," an ICE spokesperson told KSAT-TV in response to the incident. "ICE officers put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe. This disturbing public discourse shrouds our critical law enforcement function and unnecessarily puts our officers' safety at risk."

South Texas Border Patrol Agent Sergio Tinoco called the shooting a "direct result" of Democrats' "hateful rhetoric" and "vilifying" federal immigration officers.

The Washington Examiner pointed out that the incident in San Antonio is the latest in a series of incidents targeting ICE facilities in recent months, including a recent attempted firebombing in Tacoma, Washington, last month.

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