‘What happened to Ray?’ Family of Native American man killed by Border Patrol in Arizona wants to know why he was shot


A relative of a Native American man killed by Border Patrol. Agents near the Arizona-Mexico border two weeks ago said. He was talking to him shortly before he was shot. And he told her he had contacted the Border Patrol earlier in the evening to ask. For help.

But that relative said none of the law enforcement agencies investigating. Raymond Mothia’s May 18 shooting death. Asked him or any other family members for information. And Customs and Border Protection’s official statement. About the incident did not mention any calls from Mothia.

The relative said she has been pressing law enforcement. For information about the shooting. Without success — and the family was not even allowed near her body for hours. “I asked that night: ‘We want to talk to somebody. What happened to Ray? We need answers,'” said the relative. Who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of law enforcement retaliation.

Now he wants to know: “Why did the Border Patrol rush into the yard without evaluating it? Why so many bullets? Why didn’t you try to talk to Ray?”

According to a relative who lives near Matia’s home. Matia regularly called the Border Patrol to report. That immigrants were crossing his property on Tohono Odham Nation tribal land. The 4,000-square-mile reservation. In the desert west of Tucson shares a long border with Mexico. The relative said the Border Patrol spoke to him often.

The relative said that if contacted by the FBI or the Customs and Border Protection. Office of Professional Responsibility, the two federal agencies investigating the shooting. He would tell investigators that around 6 p.m. On May 18. Motia told her that she had called the Border Patrol to complain. About three undocumented immigrants. Who had entered her home and asked to use her telephone and bathroom.

More than three hours later, he said, he and Motia were talking. On the phone again when a Border Patrol car pulled into his yard. He believed they were answering his calls and told him he would talk to them.

He hung up, he said, and then he heard gunshots.

A CBP statement about the incident made no mention of the alleged earlier call from Mattia. Instead, it said Border Patrol agents were assisting Tohono Udham. Tribal Police in responding to “shots fired calls.”

That may explain why Matia went outside his home to meet with the agents. Responding to his earlier request, while the agents, according to the CBP statement. “Spread out to look for the man.”

The statement said CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility reviewed video. From the agents’ body cameras and explained that Matia threw an object. At the agents, which landed a few feet away from them, and “suddenly extended his right arm.” to shoot

According to Motia’s relative, he was not aware of any shooting. In the area that evening before Border Patrol and tribal police arrived.

He said Motia’s home was without power, making visibility difficult for law enforcement officers at 9:35 p.m. The relative also said the object Mattia threw could have been his cellphone, as he ended his call with the agents as he approached them.

Neither CBP nor the FBI, which oversees all investigations into shootings on tribal lands, have said anything about what Mattia shot. The relatives did not respond to requests for comment about why none of the relatives were interviewed, when the body camera video would be released or whether the Border Patrol knew that Matia had called them the day before they arrived. his house

The incident may further erode trust between the Border Patrol and the Tohono O’Odham Nation.

“My uncle didn’t deserve to die like this,” Mattia’s niece Yvonne Nevarez told the Arizona Republic. “After this happens, we feel like we can’t trust [Border Patrol] if there’s a problem.”

According to Matia’s relative, who rushed to the scene of the shooting, a Tohono O’Dham police officer prevented family members from viewing her body. He said the officer asked them to go home but the family members asked the officers to stay with their brother and bless his body. He said they did not see Matia until he was in the body bag on the way to the medical examiner. The Tohono O’Dham Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on why the family was prevented from seeing Matia.

“We said our goodbyes while he was in a body bag,” the relative said. “The elders said it was very disrespectful.”

The next morning, the relative said, all the crime scene tape around the Mothia home had been removed, but no law enforcement officers or agents had come to talk to the family about what had happened.

“It looks like the whole investigation is over,” the relative said. But no one came to talk to us.

Last weekend, the family held two protests outside the Border Patrol station in Tucson and near the Tohono O’Odham Nation Reservation to demand answers about Maria’s death.

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