Four wounded in border shooting near San Diego, CA

Four people were hospitalized today for injuries they suffered when federal agents opened fire on three crowded vans to prevent them from jumping the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, authorities said.

The shooting and the subsequent investigation snarled traffic for hours at the nation's busiest border crossing, but border traffic once again was proceeding normally early today, said a Customs and Border Protection watch commander in San Ysidro.

Three agents -- two with Customs and Border Protection and one with Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- fired at one of the van drivers as he drove toward them at the inspection station in southern San Diego about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to a San Diego police statement.

The van then crashed into a truck, police said.

The driver of the van, a 31-year-old man, and a passenger, a 42-year-old man, suffered gunshot wounds while a 37-year-old man who had been a passenger in the vehicle suffered cuts and a head injury, police said. A 30-year-old man who was a passenger in the truck was taken to a hospital complaining of pain.

Two of the van drivers were arrested, but the third fled back into Mexico, according to the police statement, which said that 74 undocumented immigrants were detained by federal agents.

The shooting occurred when the three vans entered the same line at the border crossing and went through together before their drivers tried to find open lanes leading to Interstate 5 or Interstate 805, police said.

The vans ended up stuck in traffic, and the drivers of two of them backed up to find escape, police said. They then went at high speed east to west through a post-primary inspection area, where the three federal agents opened fire on one of the vans' drivers, police said.

One of the passenger-packed vans had been reported stolen in San Diego, said San Diego police spokeswoman Monica Munoz.

The vans were occupied by illegal immigrants and the people trying to smuggle them in, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The San Diego Police Department's Homicide Unit was investigating the shooting, Munoz said. Federal agents were investigating the human-smuggling aspect of the case.