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Authorities: 1 person fatally shot during rescue of migrants

The FBI works on the scene of a shooting, Thursday, March 23, 2023 in north Houston. Officials say one person has been fatally shot during a hostage rescue in Houston. In a statement, the FBI's Houston office said agents had been part of a multiday law enforcement operation to rescue a group of hostages. (Ralph Green/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — A hostage rescue in Houston in which one person was fatally shot on Thursday first began days ago when three migrants were kidnapped from a vehicle in a neighboring county, according to a prosecutor.

The three migrants had been traveling in a vehicle on Interstate 10 in the southern part of Waller County on March 18 when they were stopped by an unknown number of individuals and forced into another vehicle, said Sean Whittmore, a prosecutor with the Waller County District Attorney’s Office.

It is believed the driver of the vehicle with the migrants called 911 and informed the Waller County Sheriff's Office about the kidnapping, Whittmore said. The prosecutor declined to comment on the migrants' immigration status, nationalities or whether they were being illegally transported at the time of their kidnapping.

The sheriff's office later worked with the FBI, whose agents were involved in a shooting early Thursday morning in north Houston in which all three migrants were rescued.

The FBI's Houston office declined to comment on how they found the migrants, what led up to the shooting, how many agents were involved or where the shooting took place. A large police presence was seen late Thursday morning at a motel.

“All the hostages have been safely rescued, no FBI agents are injured, and one individual is deceased,” the FBI said in a statement, adding there was no longer a threat to public safety. The FBI declined to say if the person who was fatally shot was one of the kidnappers.

The FBI said a review team will investigate the shooting.

Juan A. Lozano, The Associated Press

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