Texas and Chihuahua States investigate the incident in the Ciudad Juárez – El Paso Border
By Verónica Martínez and Blanca Carmona / La Verdad
This article will be updated with the latest information.
Ciudad Juárez– A man who allegedly tried to cross the Rio Grande to enter the United States was shot by a member of the Texas National Guard who fired from the El Paso border area over the weekend.
The victim, José Armando G. M., a 22-year-old native of the southern state of Veracruz, was shot in the right leg. He was found wounded along the banks of the Rio Grande. The Texas Military Department confirmed to La Verdad Juárez that a Texas National Guard soldier on duty was responsible. According to Mexican authorities, the victim was treated by paramedics on-site and transported to a city hospital, where he was later discharged.
The shooting occurred on the evening of Saturday, August 26, near the Americas International Bridge, according to official reports. According to the Chihuahua State Public Safety Department, the incident occurred on Mexican territory and was reported to the 911 emergency line at 8:51 p.m.
The soldier involved in the incident has been suspended until the investigation ends, according to a press release from the Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
On Wednesday, the Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs met with senior personnel from the Texas Public Safety Department to ask for a formal clarification on the event, according to a press release from the General Consulate of Mexico in El Paso.
The U.S. Department of Public Safety is working with federal authorities, as state and federal Mexican agencies to deepen the investigation measures, they added.
Misinformation from both countries
The victim has not filed a complaint, which is necessary for the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office to investigate.
The information released by both countries differed from each other. It was later corrected, including the victim’s name given by Mexican authorities, a report that the victim had passed away, and what entity was responsible for the shooting, according to U.S. authorities.
During his official daily press conference on Tuesday morning, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed the man had died after the attack after being asked about the incident.
“The Texas National Guard murdered a migrant in Ciudad Juárez, correct?” he said. The spokesperson of the Presidency, Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, clarified the victim is still alive and there is an ongoing investigation, according to the mayor of Ciudad Juárez.
Mexican authorities initially attributed the shooting to the Border Patrol. According to official information, after the incident, they received a call presumably from the B.P., in which they informed one of their agents had fired two shots against a group of people along the border who they considered to be suspicious.
However, the Border Patrol disclaimed this information to La Verdad Juárez and pointed at a soldier stationed in El Paso since December 2022 as part of Operation Lone Star. The agency stated they reported to the crime scene and that the Department of Public Security is investigating the case.
On Sunday, The Texas Military Department confirmed via email to La Verdad Juárez that the shooter was a member of the National Guard assigned to Operation Lone Star in the El Paso sector. The incident is under investigation, and information will be released as the process continues, according to a statement.
The Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office only reported that a male was injured near the international bridge and that investigations are being carried out to find out how he was injured, without elaborating on more details about the victim’s nationality.
Initially, the victim was identified as Darwin José G., a 37-year-old man from Venezuela by Mexican authorities. This information was questioned by the Ciudad Juárez migrant civil rights organization Comprehensive Human Rights in Action (Derechos Humanos Integrales en Acción in Spanish). Health Services then corrected this information and released the name José Armando G. M as the victim. The error was later attributed to miscommunication with the General Hospital, where several victims of gunshot injuries were admitted on the same night. Only Darwin José G. was identified as a migrant, and that was the name released. The issue was cleared up when they realized José Armando G. M. was not considered a migrant since he’s a Mexican citizen.
The injured man was treated for the wound of the bullet that went in and out of his right leg at the Ciudad Juárez General Hospital and was released after being in stable condition, according to Rodolfo Cortés, the Chihuahua State Department of Health spokesperson.
Translation: Vianey Alderete Contreras