Two undocumented immigrants were killed April 9 after camouflaged gunmen shot up their truck near the Arizona border with Mexico.
Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Dawn Barkman said that witnesses said a rifle-toting group wearing camouflage clothing yelled “alto” — Spanish for “stop” — then shot up the truck in the middle of the night. The truck may have been carrying up to 30 people. Most fled but two bodies were found, Barkman said.
The dead have been identified as Mexican and Guatemalan.
Barkman said that there have been two other incidents “similar in nature” to the attack in her county, both in 2007. One was identified as being by a “rip crew,” people seeking to rob drug smugglers, and another by rival smugglers.
However Barkman said they were not ruling out border vigilantes as responsible for the latest shooting.
There have been a series of unsolved murders in Arizona’s border country blamed on smugglers but with details that suggest possible vigilante involvement.
After a 2010 incident when five men were shot with high-powered rifles in a canyon near Rio Rico then stumbled across two skeletons, Sheriff Antonio Estrada said: “It’s perturbing to hear of people with high-powered rifles and camouflage. It raises some real red flags.”
National Socialist Movement member J.T. Ready, a friend of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce (responsible for the ‘papers please’ law), has run “Border Ops” patrols in the area, calling for “plenty of firearms and ammo” and “camouflage or earth tone clothing.”
Ready is now running for Pinal County Sheriff.
Last year, self-proclaimed “minuteman” Shawna Forde was found guilty for the in-cold-blood murder of Raul Flores and his daughter in 2009, and given the death penalty.
Arizona is on the verge of funding a legal armed, civilian militia. SB 1083 would allow armed volunteers to pursue and arrest people they suspect to be smugglers or undocumented immigrants. Volunteers would also be afforded the same immunity as law enforcement.
Watch local 3TV News report — which doesn’t mention camouflaged men — on the latest shootings (via Crooks and Liars):
After widespread outrage over the ‘illegal immigrant hunting permit’ stickers and t-shirt (illustrated at top) last year, Cafe Press and right-wing outlets stopped selling it — however, you can still buy mugs and t-shirts for dogs advertising a ‘liberal hunting permit.’
Picture by C. G. P. Grey