Investigation: US border agents kill tribesman in Arizona
The FBI and federal border officials are investigating the fatal shooting last week of a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation by U.S. border agents on the reservation in Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said.
Ajo Station officers were involved in the shooting around 10 p.m. Thursday near Ajo, Ariz., according to Robert Daniels, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. A few days later, the authorities revealed some details of the shooting on Monday.
Authorities have not named the man who was killed, but Tohono O’odham Nation President Ned Norris Jr. identified him as Raymond Mattia in a statement provided to The Associated Press. Mr. Norris and the Nation did not return calls and messages on Monday.
KVOA, an NBC affiliate in Tucson, cited unnamed relatives who said Raymond Mattia called authorities because several migrants entered his yard. The New York Times could not independently confirm these accounts.
Mr Daniels said the shooting was being investigated by the Office of Professional Accountability for Customs and Border Protection. He added that the FBI and Tohono O’odham Police are also investigating.
The FBI said the shooting occurred in the village of Menagers Dam, located about a mile from the US-Mexico border and about 40 miles north of Ajo. The bureau’s local office in Phoenix confirmed it was assisting Tohono O’odham Police but would not provide further information.
The killing comes as the United States braces for a surge in the number of asylum seekers crossing the southern border following the expiration this month of the public health measure known as Title 42, which ordered the immediate deportation of most migrants during the pandemic.
“Our hearts go out to his family and all those affected during this difficult time,” Mr Norris said in the Tohono O’odham statement. “As the investigation progresses, the Nation expects a full review of all facts relating to the incident and an appropriate and prompt response from the relevant public safety agencies. As the investigation is ongoing course, we will refrain from making further comments for the time being.
The nation occupies nearly 3 million acres in southwestern Arizona and has about 28,000 members, making it the second-largest reservation in Arizona by population and geographic size, according to the site. Tribal nation web.
Ophelia Rivas, a friend of the family, told News 4 Tucson that Mr. Mattia was a law-abiding citizen, entertainer, singer and traditional hunter.
“He wasn’t an aggressive man, he wasn’t violent,” she said, adding that he was “always nice to his family and cared for them any way he could.”