Arizona Edition

Family of man killed by border patrol want justice for their loved one

Raymond Mattia was shot dead by border guards in front of his home on May 18.

Courtesy of the Mattia family

The family of a Native American man who was murdered on his property by border agents on May 18 is seeking justice for his loved one.

Border agents from the Tucson Sector Aho Police Department shot dead Raymond Mattia, 58, a member of the Tohono O’Dum Nation, while responding to a call for help west of the village of Menagers Dam.

Raymond didn’t deserve to die that way, says his sister Annette Mattia.

“That was too much power,” she said. “It didn’t have to happen. There were so many gunshots. That it was everything to him should never have happened to him or anyone else.”

According to Customs and Border Protection, Raymond threw the object at the officer, which landed several feet away from the officer’s feet, and then abruptly removed his right arm from his body before three officers killed him. He was shot several times outside his home.

Raymond turned 58 the day before he was murdered, and after his death his daughter cried remembering the cake she made that she could not give him.

Raymond’s sister, Annette Mattia, who lives nearby, was home the day he was shot. She had previously received a text message saying that an illegal alien was on Raymond’s property and asked to use the phone. He said no, but they didn’t leave his property, so he called law enforcement for help.

Shortly after, Annette sees a large number of Border Patrol vehicles entering the yard. She grabbed her cell phone and called her brother. She told him the border patrol was over and asked what he should do.

Laughing it off, Raymond said, “Tell them to leave. rice field. He said he would go out and talk to them.

“The next thing I knew, I heard gunshots,” she says. “I didn’t know if it was him. I was shaking. I was scared. I was crying because I felt they had done that to him.”

She also asked a border agent who ran up to see who he was shooting at and whether he had shot his brother, she said, and he said he could have shot.

Annette, who lives alone, was shocked and unsure of what to do and went to Raymond Orphanage, also nearby.

“They were already crying when I got there. They knew what happened,” she said.

She went to the crime scene with his children, ages 24 and 21. They were not allowed entry, but remained in the suburbs.

They spent hours worrying that he had been shot and not knowing what his condition was.

Annette said Raymond’s body was left in his garden for seven hours until the coroner arrived.

“I had to put her in a body bag and say goodbye,” she said. “Just hearing the gunfire is so heartbreaking. I hear it all the time in my mind and just reliving it every day is so painful.”

under investigation

According to a Customs and Border Protection statement on the incident, on May 18, at approximately 9:00 pm, Tohono Oodum Nation Police Department assisted Aho Border Police in responding to a gunshot call west of the village of Menagers Dam. requested.

A Nation police officer and several border guards arrived at Raymond’s property around 9:30 a.m., the statement said, without naming them.

After firing a few shots, he fell to the ground.

Police officers and agents slowly approached him and “secured him” before initiating a medical evaluation and requesting emergency medical services. Agent started CPR and requested air support, but was told that air support was not possible due to bad weather. They continued CPR until a doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, contacted by phone, pronounced him dead at 10:06 p.m.

The Pima County Coroner’s Office took custody of his body and performed an autopsy on May 19, but no full report has yet been issued other than that he died from gunshot wounds received while interacting with law enforcement. not announced.

Investigators involved in the case have taken a leave of absence, which is now standard practice in investigations following the use of lethal force. All three agents who fired the weapons and seven additional agents activated body-worn cameras during the incident, according to a CBP statement.

The agency said it will release the footage as soon as appropriate without affecting ongoing law enforcement investigations.

The incident is being investigated by the Tohono Odham Nation Police Department, the FBI, and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

US Congressman Raul Grijalva has called on the Department of Homeland Security to limit internal investigations, citing allegations of past investigation irregularities within the Department.

“Like many others, I am disturbed by reports of excessive use of force and would like to know the exact circumstances of this deadly event,” Grijalva said in a statement Friday. Stated. “As the FBI and the Tohono Odham Nation Police Department investigate, the results must be independently verified and fully disclosed.”

“Now I’m scared to even call anyone.”

Raymond’s family remembers him as a father, brother, uncle and friend to many. He was the traditional singer of the tribe and would sing throughout the night during traditional ceremonies held in the community.

He was also an artist, sculptor, hunter and prospector. According to Annette, he loved going to the mountains and looking for gold. Raymond was also a member of the local council.

“Raymond was a very peaceful person, a very loving person,” says his niece, Yvonne Nevarez. “He cared about his family and his community. He always had a voice to defend our land and people, but what happened to him was not taken for granted. We just don’t understand why and we just want people to know that he was a very good man and we had a lot of people contact us and say the same about him. and we just feel like our lives are over and we’re being torn apart for no good reason.”

Annette doesn’t know what she would do without her brother.

They live in the countryside far from nothing. It is common for illegal immigrants to come through their property. Mr. Raymond often told them to leave, and if he felt the situation was more serious, he asked the border patrol for help. Annette says it may or may not come.

On one occasion, Annette was chased by three men in camouflage uniforms as she left her home.

“They came out of the bush and ran towards me,” she says. “I called the border patrol, I called the police, but no one came.

With him gone, she feels unsafe as people may enter her property, but she also feels unsafe to ask for help.

“Now we’re scared to even call anyone. Look what happened,” she says.

Families will be outside the Border Patrol Station in Why, Arizona and the Tucson Sector Station in Golf Links Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon to assist all victims of unsupervised acts of violence by Border Patrol and other agencies. hold a peaceful meeting for the way.

A GoFundMe for defense funding will be available soon.

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