By Rosa Flores, CNN
A Texas National Guard member shot a migrant in the shoulder during an encounter in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas last week, according to a recent joint Army Times and Texas Tribune report. A federal law enforcement source confirmed to CNN a migrant was shot and injured in the incident.
This is the first known incident involving a service member shooting and injuring a migrant since Texas’ Operation Lone Star started in March 2021, according to the Army Times and Texas Tribune.
Citing a Texas Military Department internal document, the outlets reported the shooting happened in the early morning of January 15 in an area west of McAllen, Texas, where the Border Patrol tracked a group of migrants to an abandoned house.
Two Texas National Guard members entered the dwelling, where three of the migrants surrendered and a fourth migrant attempted to flee through a window and resisted when a soldier tried to apprehend him, according to the outlets, citing the internal military department document.
A struggle ensued, and the Guard member fired once, striking the migrant, the outlets reported, citing the document.
The migrant who was shot is a man from El Salvador who was wounded in the shoulder and released from the hospital the same day, according to the federal law enforcement source. It is unclear where the migrant is located at this time, the source said.
The Army Times and Texas Tribune reported the internal document did not indicate whether the migrant was armed, and it was unclear if the Guard member intentionally fired his weapon.
CNN asked the Texas Military Department for a copy of the incident report, but the information was not provided.
“Because this is an active and ongoing investigation by the Texas Rangers, no information is available at this time,” the Public Affairs Office of the Texas Military Department stated in an email.
US Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande Valley as well as Texas Department of Public Safety personnel were also present during the shooting incident at about 4:12 a.m. CT January 15, according to US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Rod Kise.
“Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is reviewing the incident,” Kise said in an email.
CNN asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to confirm its personnel were present during the shooting incident and for comment on the case. Ericka Miller, press secretary for the department, said the Texas Rangers are investigating the incident.
“As this is an active and ongoing investigation, no additional information is available,” Miller said in an email.
The Texas Rangers is a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Operation Lone Star was launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in response to a rise in illegal immigration. The state has allocated more than $4 billion dollars to finance the effort, which includes the deployment of thousands of Texas National Guard members and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to the Texas southern border with Mexico.
“This latest shooting is the consequence of Greg Abbott playing political games with people’s lives through his Operation Lone Star scheme,” said incoming Texas Civil Rights Project President Rochelle Garza in an email. “The lives of both National Guardsmen and immigrants that are seeking safety have been put in danger through this unlawful policy. We will continue to fight attempts from the state to intervene in federal immigration policy and push for the humane and just solutions that Texas communities and migrants deserve.”
The Texas Civil Rights Project is a civil rights group of lawyers and advocates in Texas.
CNN reached out to Abbott’s press office asking for comment and has not heard back.
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