The FBI and Tohono O’odham Nation police are investigating the shooting death of a tribal member by US Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona.
Federal Customs and Border Protection officials said agents from the Ajo Border Patrol Station “were involved” in a fatal shooting on the Tohono O’odham reservation near Ajo around 10 pm Thursday. They have not released any additional information other than to say the encounter was under review by Customs and Border Protection’s office of professional responsibility, which investigates fatal shootings by agents, among other cases.
Tribal Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said in a statement Sunday that the shooting occurred in the Tohono O’odham Nation community of Meneger’s Dam and identified the victim.
“Nation member Raymond Mattia lost his life in the incident,” Norris said. “Our hearts go out to his family and all those [affected] during this difficult time.
“As the investigation progresses, the Nation expects a full consideration of all the facts related to the incident and an appropriate and prompt response from the relevant public safety agencies. Because the investigation is ongoing, we will refrain from further comment at this time.”
tucson television station KVOA reported that Mattia had called the border patrol because several immigrants had trespassed on his yard and he wanted help getting them off his property.
Meneger’s Dam is just a few miles from the US-Mexico border, where Covid-19 asylum limits known as Title 42 expired less than a week before the shooting. A rush to the border before Title 42 expired and new, possibly tougher immigration policies went into effect, put extraordinary pressure on areas along the county lines.
According to KVOA, Mattia’s family told them that he came out when he saw the officers and, for unknown reasons, they apparently shot him.