A jail warden and his brother allegedly shot two illegal migrants Tuesday near the El Paso, Texas, border, according to multiple reports.
Warden Michael Sheppard of a privately owned detention facility in Sierra Blanca, Texas, and his brother, Mark, allegedly shot the two, according to ABC-7. One of the victims, a male, died after being shot in the head and the other, a female, was shot and taken to a hospital where she is recovering, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: ‘Domino Effect’: How The Crisis At The Southern Is Opening Up The Northern Border)
The two were taken into custody and charged with manslaughter Thursday, according to DPS.
Mark first told investigators that he was never at the location of the shooting and then changed his story to admit that he and his brother were together that day, according to the affidavit.
Sheppard was fired from the West Texas Detention Center for an “off-duty” situation, according to ABC-7. It’s unclear if the “off-duty” incident was the shooting.
When the recent incident occurred, a driver allegedly stopped and got out of a pickup truck shouting “come out” in Spanish after the group tried to hide, according to an affidavit. The driver also allegedly used profanity and revved the truck’s engine, which the illegal migrants interpreted as the truck leaving before the driver fired two shots, returned to his vehicle and drove away.
Mark denied yelling anything, according to the affidavit.
Migrants fleeing persecution in their home countries should not have to fear for their lives here.
I’m devastated by this news out of Hudspeth County. Time and time again inflammatory, demonizing Republican rhetoric turns into action.https://t.co/WSNASvJbEm
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) September 29, 2022
The Sheppards allegedly said they were looking for animals to hunt, according to the affidavit. Mark allegedly said he stopped the truck after believing to have spotted a javelina, a wild boar, and he and his brother left the truck with a shotgun and had shot twice.
Neither of the two suspects checked what or who was shot, according to the affidavit.
The suspects often hunted in the area, Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West, who said he knew the two, told ABC-7.
The victims were part of a group of 13 Mexican illegal migrants, who were allegedly attempting to evade law enforcement apprehension while crossing the border, The New York Times reported, citing court documents. The victims were walking in a group along the side of a road and stopped for water when they were shot, DPS said.
Authorities at the southern border have encountered record numbers of migrants in fiscal year 2022, with over 2,000,000 encounters. The El Paso sector has recently faced an uptick of its own and has scrambled to surge resources to support the influx of illegal migrants, who are mainly coming from Venezuela.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), West’s office and the El Paso County Sheriff’s office didn’t respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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