Native American man calls on trespassing migrants and is killed by Border Patrol; family seeks answers

An outraged family is seeking answers after a respected member of the Tohono O’odham Nation was shot and killed on his Arizona reservation by U.S. Border Patrol agents on Thursday.

According to Tuscon station KVOA, Raymond Mattia called Border Patrol to report trespassing migrants.

“He called to request for assistance because there were multiple illegal immigrants who had trespassed into his yard and he wanted assistance getting them out of his property,” a family member who wished to remain anonymous told KVOA.

(Video: YouTube)

The incident took place in the Menegers Dam village, just a few miles from the U.S. border with Mexico. Family members say Mattia saw the agents and went outside. He was just two feet from his front door when shots rang out, they said.

“I had heard all the gunshots like it was just a war,” the family member recalled. “I just went into shock like I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Now, they want answers.

“They told us there was an estimated 38 shots fired at him,” the family member said. “You know that’s excessive and we want justice and we want to know what happened and why there were so many Border Patrol out there shooting at him.”

Long-time family friend Ophelia Rivas described Mattia as an “artist” and a “kind” man.

“He was not aggressive kind of man, he was not violent,” she said. “He was an artist, a ceremony person, a traditional hunter, he’s a traditional singer. He was always kind to his family and taking care of them however he could.”

Rivas said that Border Patrol has a history of “aggression” in the community.

“I have dealt with Border Patrol aggression and unmonitored behavior out here on Tohono O’odham land without any regard to the respect and to the land and to the people,” she stated.

Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed that agents from the Ajo Border Patrol Station were involved in a fatal shooting on the reservation at around 10 p.m. on Thursday. The incident is now under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, U.S. News reports, adding that no additional information has been released.

In a Saturday statement, Tribal chairman Ned Norris Jr. expressed condolences for Mattia’s family.

“Nation member Raymond Mattia lost his life in the incident. Our hearts go out to his family and all those impacted during this difficult time,” Norris said. “As the investigation proceeds, the Nation expects full consideration of all related facts of the incident and an appropriate and expeditious response from relevant public safety agencies. Because the investigation is ongoing, we will refrain from making further comment at this time.”

On Twitter, one reporter suggests there may be a dark twist to this tragic shooting. As the publisher of Censored News, Brenda Norrell is dedicated to reporting on Native American news.

“As a news reporter, I interviewed Raymond Mattia, who was killed by Border Patrol on Thursday night,” Norrell tweeted. “Raymond told me that he had evidence that Border Patrol agents in the area were working with the cartels and were involved in drug running.”

In another tweet, Norrell wrote, “Mattia had video evidence that disappeared after he made an official report. His home is a short distance from the border.”

Melissa Fine


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