A Native American man who called for assistance in getting illegal immigrants out of his yard on Indian land in southern Arizona is dead after a shooting by Border Patrol agents.
It is not clear what initiated the shooting, but a member of the Tohono O’odham Tribe was shot multiple times by his front door last Thursday night.
A family member who did not wish to be identified by the outlet said Mattia discovered people on his lawn in the village of Menegers Dam, which is located just a few miles north of the border.
“He called to request for assistance because there were multiple illegal immigrants who had trespassed into his yard and he wanted assistance getting them out of his property,” the family member said.
Once Border Patrol agents arrived, Mattia left his home to meet them and shots were heard, the family member said.
“I had heard all the gunshots like it was just a war. I just went into shock like I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” the person added.
CPB confirmed to KOLD-TV that agents from the agency were involved in the shooting but did not offer any additional comment.
Mattia’s family is outraged by the shooting.
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A reported 38 shots were fired at Mattia, which the family member who spoke to KVOA-TV said needs to be addressed.
“You know that’s excessive and we want justice and we want to know what happened and why there were so many Border Patrol out there shooting at him,” the family member said.
A friend of Mattias named Ophelia Rivas also spoke about his death.
Rivas accused CPB agents of previous “aggression” but she did not expound on the claim.
“I have dealt with Border Patrol aggression and unmonitored behavior out here on Tohono O’odham land without any regard to the respect and to the land and to the people,” she claimed.
Tohono O’odham police are investigating the shooting in collaboration with the FBI and the CPB’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The reservation stretches from the southern border to the south and extends across Maricopa, Pima, and Pima Counties.
The area is home to about 9,500 people, according to the 2020 Census.
Members of the tribe have historically opposed efforts to control its 62-mile-long barrier with Mexico — where about 2,000 Tohono O’odham live permanently and move back and forth from.
In recent years, drug cartels have taken advantage of the reservation’s porous border with Mexico, The New York Post reported.