Skip to content

The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández

Watch the Trailer

PBS Premiere: July 8, 2008


In 1997, U.S. Marines patrolling the Texas-Mexico border as part of the War on Drugs shot and killed Esequiel Hernández Jr. Mistaken for a drug runner, the 18-year-old was, in fact, a U.S. citizen tending his family's goats with a .22 rifle. He became the first American killed by U.S. military forces on native soil since the 1970 Kent State shootings. The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, explores Hernandez's tragic death and its torturous aftermath. His parents and friends, the Marines on patrol, and investigators discuss the dangers of militarizing the border and the death of one young man. A co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting. An official selection of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

Read the full film description »


TAGS: borders, fbi, homeland security, immigration, mexico, military

Are you aware of our Comment Policy?

* Your email address is for verification purposes only and will not be published, shared, or sold to other entities.

Share This

Film Information

The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández (90 min.)

Premiere Date: July 8, 2008

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmaker: Kieran Fitzgerald Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Critical Acclaim | Fact Sheet | Press Release


Kieran Fitzgerald
Kieran Fitzgerald

Nobody knew about his story, and I started wondering why it was that his story had vanished.”

— Kieran Fitzgerald, Filmmaker


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

With an accountant's methodical attention and a true-crime maven's taste for a great story, Kieran Fitzgerald's memorable The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández documents a tragic 1997 border incident that sheds light on the uses of U.S. military on home soil.”

&mdash Robert Koehler, Variety

Upcoming Films

A Co-Presentation of

Logo: LPB