Authorities in Texas have detained an immigration jail warden and his twin brother on charges that they shot and killed two migrants who had stopped to drink water along the US-Mexico border.
The deadly encounter occurred on Tuesday night in west Texas, close to the hamlet of Sierra Blanca.
Police say that Mike and Mark Sheppard, both 60 years old, opened fire on the migrants as they stood near a water tank along a farm.
A guy was shot and died, and a lady was wounded; she was sent to the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso for treatment. As of Friday, the identities of the victims remained unknown.
In relation to the fatal shooting, the Sheppard twins were arrested. Manslaughter charges have been filed, and the FBI, DHS, and US Border Patrol are collaborating with the investigation, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Those who were able to hide informed investigators that the Sheppard brothers yelled obscenities and commanded them in Spanish to come out.
According to the Intercept, the pickup truck’s driver leaned across the hood and fired at least two rounds, striking and killing a man and wounding a woman.
They told authorities they were out on a grouse or javelina hunt when questioned. According to them, after shooting something, they didn’t even bother trying to identify it before driving off to a county board meeting.
It has been reported that up until this week, Mike Sheppard was the warden of the West Texas Detention Center, a notorious private immigration jail located in Sierra Blanca, around 4 miles from the shooting’s epicenter.
The facility’s warden was let go “due to an off-duty event unrelated to his employment,” according to a LaSalle Corrections representative.
In 2018, the Intercept published a damning article alleging that Mike Sheppard and other employees at the Sierra Blanca facility had verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted 80 African inmates.
Despite formal complaints being filed with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and local authorities, Sheppard was permitted to keep his position after being accused of hitting a guy in the face and kicking him while he was detained.
Democrats in Texas blamed “violent fearmongering of undocumented migrants” by Republicans for the attacks on migrants.
El Paso Democrat Rep. Veronica Escobar has requested that the Department of Justice look into the fatal shooting in Sierra Blanca as a possible hate crime.
“People who are escaping persecution in their native countries should not be afraid for their safety here.” Escobar made a tweet. I can’t believe the reports coming out of Hudspeth County. The Republican Party has a history of following its harsh, hateful rhetoric with actual actions.