Texas Border Patrol agents, in file photograph, detain migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally. (Molly Hennessy-Fiske / Los Angeles Times)
Border Patrol agent shoots at armed militia member in Texas
By James Queally
A U.S. Border Patrol agent fired several rounds toward an armed militia member in Texas, reigniting concerns among law enforcement officials about conflicts with untrained and unregulated volunteers who have arrived at the Mexican border in the wake of the recent immigration crisis.
Omar Zamora, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday that the agent was chasing several suspects through an area of thick brush near the Rio Grande on Friday afternoon when he came upon a militia member holding a shotgun or rifle.
The agent fired several rounds, and the militia member immediately dropped his weapon, according to Zamora, who said no one was injured.
“It’s difficult because we have several different law enforcement agencies there from federal, state and local … we can work together, we can deconflict," he said. "We’re all in uniform."
It was not immediately clear if the man, who was not identified, will face criminal charges. The Cameron County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident which occurred near Brownsville, but no one was available for comment on Saturday afternoon.
Zamora did not identify the patrol agent and said it was not clear what organization the militia member belonged to. He was standing on private property at the time of the incident.
A crush of law enforcement, including 1,000 Texas National Guard members called in by Gov. Rick Perry, have descended on South Texas in recent months as a flood of Central American immigrants have entered the country.
Nearly 60,000 immigrants, many of them unaccompanied women and children, have fled to the U.S. to escape gang and drug violence in their home countries since October. Most have crossed into Texas' Rio Grande Valley.
Unregulated volunteers, including the Oathkeepers, Three Percenter's Club, Patriots and the Minutemen, have also arrived near the border, drawing the ire of law enforcement.
“It’s something that we don’t condone," Zamora said. "There’s all kinds of non-government organizations that Americans can volunteer for, but we do not support armed individuals on the border doing border patrol work.”
Zamora said he believed the shooting incident was the first of its kind since the influx of immigrants began last year. Border Patrol officials will likely hold meetings this week to discuss protocols to address possible conflicts with militia members, he said.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
Such bs....when I was out there we were getting nothing but praise from BP we even brought eachother lunch and water on different occasions... Idk how these guys are going about it but we gave BP our channel and agreed to have our rifles slung to the rear and not sling low ready or raise unless we planned on shooting something. Obviously we all agreed as if I was walking through the desert and came upon someone holding a fuckin rifle I would be alarmed as well. These idiots were probably trying to play rambo walking around holding their rifles like their guarding a fuckin embassy condition 1. Whatever please do not think that this reflects professional militia groups like us (Ca Militia 1st infantry, Rain cross platoon)
Libertad y paz en Michoacán!!
@El2002. Question; What is a "professional militia"? The dictionary defines "militia" as
"a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers".
"Professional", at least to me, means you are being paid for your services. You are the only one on BB that I have read a comment from that has actually been on the border serving in a militia, so I am really interested in your comment. Were you being paid for your service in the militia? If so, by whom?
I commented in an earlier thread that is was going to get rather crowded along the south Texas border. News media from around the world; candidates from all levels of public office, from mayors to Governors and Congressional candidates; 1000 National Guard, hundred of militia men from a dozen different militias (under no central command), as well as more than 3,000 border agents, as well as hundreds of state police, game wardens and local police officers. It looked to me like a cluster f**k in the making.
You stated that you were "getting nothing but praise from BP", yet the agency has said it
"does not endorse or support any private group or organization from taking matters into their own hands as it could have disastrous personal and public safety consequences." (as reported in Stars and Stripes).
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said, "We really don't need the militia here."
A Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said of the militia. "If they're all just dressed in camos, it's kind of hard to distinguish whether they're law enforcement or not. ... There's a lot of potential for stuff to go wrong."
Even Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio warned of "chaos if you're going to have private citizens dressed just like our deputies taking the law into their own hands."
If militia members aren't careful in their dealings with real law officers, "there could be some dead militia out there," he added.
It seems the BP agency and several sheriffs directly affected by illegal immigration haven't exactly thrown out the welcome mat to the militias.
Though the militias have no legal authority to make an arrest or even detain someone, leaders of some militia groups have been on YouTube with statements like "shoot to kill" if you catch someone trying to enter the country illegally, and another saying if I caught someone trying to cross illegally, "I would aim my rifle right between his eyes and tell him to go back or I would kill him".
I respect what you say about the militia group you are in being better trained and probably would not resort to those kind of tactics. But you have still complicated the problems of BP and other LE because they now have to weed out the "good militias" from those that treat it as a summer adventure camp.
Regardless the fact remains that you are adding more armed men on the ground (without any central command). If one group comes upon another group of armed men in the dark and thinks they are drug smugglers, I could easily envision a tragic shoot-out ensuing.
I agree with the conclusion of Stars and Stripes;
The presence of armed militia members working on their own in a region known for human smuggling, drug smuggling and illegal immigration has added one more variable to an already complex and tense situation as America's border crisis escalates.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
You make great points! You are right about the idiots out there. I can only speak for Ca Militia in which I hold a 3 squad level leadership position. We are THE most professional and well trained militia in the USA so I can't take any credit for something that was that way when I joined. The issue with other militias is the command is too scared to have an actual weeding out process where not every idiot with a gun (and believe it or not some people that don't even own guns) join up. Those are the idiots that have never done a thing in their life and want to go grab their uncles SKS and throw a tactical stock and 30 round mag on it and GO KILL SOME COONS! lol Thats not what we are about. We were told to stand down until Texas Militia asked for our help. Are we paid? NO! I wish! lol This is 100% voluntary and something unique to Ca militia is if you are not involved in our charity aspect, our meet and greets, our training events, and keep up your shooting skills per OUR instructors you are not allowed to represent us in ANY armed or security capacity. I think all militias should do this as it weeds out the idiots who don't wanna BE in the militia to better the community but rather to show everyone they have a gun and play weekend cop. Attire? We wear black polo shirts, tan cargo pants, tan military boots, and hats and LBC's or body armor that is emblazoned with CA MILITA. Unlike the other idiots out there (from what I hear) We actually keep in contact with BP tell them what were doing where were patrolling and GIVE them one of our radios to keep at dispatch. We are EXTREMELY professional (professional to us means responsible, well trained, well disciplined, and non confrontational) Lastly of course BP will publically state they need no help they don't want the world to show up and of course the city/state will say the same as to not look weak. Oh and I completely understand the lack of respect the general populous has for us (militia in general) although I don't agree with it. Unfortunately a few wanna be revolutionary terrorists have severely tarnished our name and truth behind our cause and the keyboard revolutionaries of today infesting our ranks are furthering the damage. But please understand at the end of the day from leadership and sincere militia men and women who are doing this to better the community, please understand that we do care and we are not looking to get into a shootout.
Libertad y paz en Michoacán!!
You're making sense to me. Im not surprised no one responded though. Keep up the good work protecting our borders.
I applaud anyone who acts on their beliefs and convictions like El?2012 . El Guapo's attempt to dismiss ALL the militia members as delusional and full of BS only speaks volumes about the ignorance that affects those that are pro-illegal immigration and for open borders . I personally have witnessed the lawlessness, crime , violence on both the southern Mexican border as well as the Mexico-U.S. border . Just ask any resident of Reynosa , Matamoros , Nuevo Laredo , and Ciudad Juarez and they will tell you how the influx of illegal immigrants to their cities has a detrimental effect on their quality of life . Many would gladly join a Mexican version of the militias to protect Mexico . Most U.S. militia members I have met are informed and intelligent citizens who have taken it upon themselves to exercise their right to protect their country . Keep up the great work .
This post was updated on .
Thanks for the explanation on CA MILITA . From what you describe, you have my moral support and respect.
1. "If" a citizen is on "private" property, as in the case above, does the BP officer have a claim against a citizen who the property owner(s) gave permission to patrol his property armed?
2. In general , how does CA MILITA arrange things with property owners? What major issues are involved.
Lastly, I hope all the problems and conflicts among and between volunteer militias get resolved ASAP because I feel we are rapidly heading into very turbulent times along the US.Mexico border.
Keep up the good work (doing what our Obama Administration fails to do).
P.S. In the LA Times story, with the provocative "yellow-journalism" title, it sure appear that the BP agent did "wrong" by firing shots at the militia man who seems NOT to have really provoked such actions. Something stinks here?
@MW. On this one we disagree.
The arguments pro and con on militias that are uncoordinated by a central command structure patrolling the border have been made, so I am not going to reiterate them here. But your comment about the "provocative yellow journalism" headline of the LA Times prompts me to respond.
It seems to me that the headline "Border Patrol agent shoots at armed militia member in Texas" succinctly and accurately describes the contacts of the story. Please explain why you interpret that as biased or "yellow journalism".
As you know most of my comments in the past would not usually be construed as supportive of the BP (or at least its policies). But in this case you say the BP agent "did wrong" by firing shots at the militia man who "seem to have NOT provoked such action".
This an illustration of what I have argued creates a dangerous situation on the border.
The sudden appearance of an armed man in the path of pursuit by a BP agent chasing a group of suspected illegals through heavy brush
is in itself a provocation and is likely to have dire consequences.
Should the agent have stopped and asked "who are you" and "show me your permission from the land owner to patrol his land"?
Or would the agent be justified in making a split second decision that the armed man was a armed human smuggler protecting the illegals that the agent was chasing? If the agent had waited and if the armed man had been a armed human smuggler, the agent would probably be dead right now and the story would have been "Human Smuggler kills BP Agent".
Fortunately this incident did not end in tragedy. But IMO hundreds of unregulated uncoordinated armed men tromping around in the heavy brush and tall reeds of the South Texas border where authorized LE are looking for human/drug smugglers is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
LA Times - what did you expect?
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