Here is an excerpt from Daniel Borunda's article in the El Paso Times:
"Several gunshots apparently fired from Juárez hit El Paso City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. No one was hurt, but nerves were rattled at City Hall in what is thought to be the first cross-border gunfire during a drug war that has engulfed Juárez since 2008. El Paso police spokesman Darrel Petry said investigators do not think City Hall was intentionally targeted but rather was struck by stray shots. 'It does appear the rounds may have come from an incident in Juárez,' Petry said. City Hall sits on a hill about a half-mile north of the Rio Grande... Petry said an inspection by police and city staff found that City Hall was hit by seven gunshots, which appeared to be losing velocity when they struck. Six of the rounds hit stucco walls on the north and south sides of the building. Two bullets were recovered -- the one that went through the window and one that bounced off an exterior wall. The size of the bullets was not disclosed... El Paso police said the time the gunshots hit City Hall coincides with a shooting in west Juárez on Bernardo Norzagaray boulevard, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande... Investigators found 40 bullet casings from an AK-47 and other firearms." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I definitely agree with Petry's assessment that City Hall was not intentionally targeted, but had the misfortune to be in the line of fire of an incident in Juárez. I'm not a ballistics expert, but I remember enough from my active duty Air Force days and my firearms experience to know the range of a small-caliber handgun versus that of a rifle. I'd say it's likely those rounds came from a rifle due to the sheer distance, but it doesn't really matter; those folks in City Hall were really freaked out, and rightfully so.
So what do we make of this incident? Unfortunately, not much can be made of it. You have to chalk it up to "that's what happens" when you're a city in such geographical proximity to a place like Ciudad Juárez. And there isn't anything that can practically be done about it. Retrofitting a building with a face made of up mostly glass windows with either concrete or bullet-proof glass is impractical at best. Fortunately, it's not like these stray bullet incidents are happening every day. We know they've happened before in similar sister-city situations in Texas, but again, they didn't involve intentional targeting of US buildings. On top of all that, the targeting of a building like El Paso's City hall would be a radical departure from the usual tactics of DTOs, and it wouldn't accomplish anything as far as DTO business goals go.
I do find it amusing that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote President Barack Obama on Wednesday to say Tuesday's "cross-border gunfire" was more proof that the state "is under constant assault from illegal activity threatening a porous border." He also used the incident as evidence that the 1,200 National Guard troops Obama plans to send to the border won't be nearly enough. I agree with him completely on that in general, but even if 5,000 Guard troops were on duty when that incident occurred, they couldn't have done anything to stop it.
El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson also shrugged off suggestions that more security could prevent stray bullets from flying across the border. I have to agree with Wilson on this one. Technically, City Hall was not intentionally "under assault" like Abbott claims. While I hate the fact that something like this can happen and yes, put Americans in harm's way, we have to understand that this situation - meaning stray gunfire across the border - is not something the US government or law enforcement can control. Yes, it is excruciating for many (myself included) to acknowledge that, and worse to feel so helpless about it. But until Mexican authorities can get a handle on these types of incidents in their border cities that are mere yards from ours, we have to just hope and pray that something like this doesn't happen again.