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Minutemen Suspected in Border Shootings

"Rogue" Minutemen may be behind border shootings
Minutemen Suspected in Border Shootings

Campo California –

Jim Chase of the California Minutemen admitted to the San Diego press this week that “rogue? Minutemen shot 2 unarmed Mexicans at the California border near Campo Saturday night. “The rogue theory is absolutely true,? he said.

Chase claimed no one in his formal organization has fired a weapon, and that he has turned away “extremists,? but that he’s encountered “rogue? patrols.

According to fellow anti-migrant activist Andy Ramirez of “Friends of the Border Patrol,? however, Chase had planned to bring “snipers? to the border, a move Ramirez denounced, saying “It scared the hell out of me. We decided we weren't going to have anything to do with him."

Associated Press reported earlier that Chase would not intervene against anyone chasing migrants on the “If somebody’s stupid enough to do it, I’m not going to stop them,? Chase said.

Chase had urged volunteers to bring baseball bats, mace, pepper spray and machetes to the border but said he rescinded the call after the Border Patrol expressed concern about potential violence.

Despite Chase’s claim to knowledge of the shootings neither the Border Patrol nor any other federal, state, or local agency has opened an investigation, despite an earlier claim by San Diego Sheriff Bill Kolender who said “We will not tolerate any kind of hate crimes, we will not tolerate any violations of the law…?

Mexican officials have meanwhile contradicted their original claim that the 2 Mexican nationals were shot by “bandits? – a claim the victims flatly denied. Authorities now say it is uncertain who shot the migrants.

Jose Rivera Perez was shot below the left knee while waiting to cross the border about 20 yards south of the steel fence that slices through the desert. His group was approached, Rivera said, by a masked assailant who, when they began to run, fired on them.

Rivera said he was not robbed, according to the Union Tribune. “If he were a bandit he would have robbed us and taken everything. He only shot at us and ran,? Rivera said.

A second man, Carlos Estrada Martinez, said he was shot some 200 yards on the US side of the border when, according to the Union Tribune, “he saw a laser dot tracing up and down the front of his body? before he was hit by the third of three shots fired in the darkness. Estrada also said he was not robbed.

Chase, who has reportedly angered police with a very frequent series of calls over minor matters, told reporters that he has been running into people conducting patrols “who have not gone through me…? There is no indication that Chase reported such patrols to the police, however.

Similar claims of “rogue? Minutemen activity were made when Minutemen invaded the Arizona border and several migrants were held at gunpoint.

Chase claimed this week he had called the Border Patrol after he picked up a migrant couple hitchhiking along a state highway near the borderline, claiming he became “suspicious? only after stopping to pick them up. He dropped them off near the Border Patrol station in Campo, then called agents to arrest them.

"They looked like a nice couple," he said.
According to the Union Tribune, Heriberto Garcia, regional coordinator of the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, said of the Minutemen, “They are feeding feelings of hatred… It’s very strange that these acts are occurring in this context. We’re not discarding any possibilities until authorities find out who did this, one way or another.?

Meanwhile, anti-Minutemen activists in the Campo area reported encountering heavily armed men hiding in bushes the night of the shooting, some two miles East of Campo in the direction the shootings took place. The men used Morse code on their flashlights to demand a password from the activists.
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For mainstream press reports see:
www.signonsandiego.com/news/mexico/tijuana/20050726-9999-1m26border.html
www.signonsandiego.com/news/mexico/tijuana/20050727-9999-7m27shoot.html
 
 


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