Yesterday, local Arizona news stations began reporting that a group of undocumented immigrants were shot at in an area of Parker Canyon located near Rio Rico Arizona on Friday. According to reports, a group of undocumented border crossers were shot at by two men wearing camouflage using high-powered rifles. One of the five immigrants was hit by a bullet in the forearm and treated at an area hospital for his wounds. The migrants also told authorities that they came across two dead bodies. Nogales International reports:
Sheriff Antonio Estrada said that according to his department’s incident report, five undocumented migrants had crossed into the United States and were walking through a canyon around 5 a.m. on Friday when two unidentified males wearing camouflage clothing shot at them with a high-powered rifle.
“The victims claimed no demands were made. They were just walking and fired upon,” said Estrada, who added that the group had not been robbed. Estrada said that when the group ran, one of the men, Manuel Esquer Gomez, 45, from Nogales, Sonora sustained a gunshot wound to the left forearm.
As the group continued, the men stumbled upon skeletal remains of what they thought were two people.
While little is known about the attackers, Sheriff Antonio Estrada has stated that “[i]t’s perturbing to hear of people with high-powered rifles and camouflage. It raises some real red flags.” He also told KVOA that the shooters might have been U.S. citizens. “I hate to think that is what we’re looking at but we’re not going to dismiss any possibilities,” Estrada stated. “They may be individuals who may be hunting illegal border crossers. That’s really a big concern for us.”
Last summer, Shawna Forde, a member of the Minutemen American Defense, was charged with dressing up as a law enforcement officer and breaking into a house near the border in Arivica, Arizona and shooting a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter. While it’s too early to say who is responsible for Friday’s shooting, it is known that James Gilchrist of the Minutemen Project has boasted about having 240 volunteers ready for a 30-day aerial and ground surveillance campaign on the Arizona-Mexico border. At the very least, last week’s incident further justifies the warnings of law enforcement officials who have pointed out that their presence “could be a very [volatile] situation, one that reasonable people ought to avoid.”