theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Spillover Gunfire from Mexico

NEAR RIO GRANDE CITY — A Starr County community said they are tired of gunfire spilling over from Mexico.
Border Patrol reported shots fired on Friday morning. At around 8:30 a.m., neighbors in Refugio, a small community by Rio Grande City, said a dead-end street was full of Border Patrol agents and Department of Public Safety officials.
Resident Rene Garza said his community has learned to live with all the violence.
Garza said he grew up in the border community. “Before we wouldn't see shootings,” he said. “Now, if you stand here at night, you will hear shootings. It's normal.”
Garza said many of his neighbors won’t talk about the illegal activity, because they fear retaliation. He said he’s tired of looking the other way.
“It was around eight this morning, I heard it was from the other side,” Garza said about the shots he heard. “The army on the other side was shooting someone, and they crossed over.”
Border Patrol was investigating the shooting by the river, not far from Garza’s home.
A field outside of Garza’s house used to be his playground. Now, he said it’s no man’s land.
"As soon as you step out in this field, you will have a Border Patrol watching us,” he said. “The more military, the more police, the more security they put here, well, they are going to get across. It’s a cat and mouse game. It is the way it is for them.”
Garza said he is glad law enforcement officials patrol the area. However, he said he feels he’s on edge, lately.
The area that separates El Refugio and the river is a thick, bushy terrain. It’s hard to patrol and easy for smugglers to hide in.
Border Patrol released this statement about the shooting:
"On Friday, at approximately 8:30 a.m. CST, Border Patrol Agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station, reported being fired upon from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande near El Refugio, Texas. An agent returned fire using his service-issued weapon and retreated to a safer location. No injuries to a CBP employee were reported. No other agent fired their weapon. The Government of Mexico was notified of the incident. The Government of Mexico has not reported any injuries to anyone on the Mexican side of the river. No apprehensions were made. No contraband was found. The incident is currently under investigation by the Starr County Sheriff's Office.

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