A Texas National Guard member has been “separated” from his role after allegedly discharging his weapon, wounding a Mexican citizen in the city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, on Aug. 26, according to Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.
The ministry had been “closely following” the shooting of the man, who suffered a leg wound after being shot while on Mexican territory just south of El Paso, officials said in an Aug. 30 statement.
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) also launched an investigation into the alleged shooting at the request of the Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso, the ministry said.
As part of Mexico’s “actions of consular protection,” the consul general met with senior officials at DPS and the Texas Rangers on Aug. 30 for an update on the probe, according to the statement.
“He was informed that the National Guard member involved in the incident has been separated from his position until the investigation has concluded,” the ministry said.
Additionally, DPS is working with U.S. federal authorities and Mexican state and federal authorities to “strengthen” the investigation, the ministry continued.
“During the meeting, the Mexican authorities reiterated that the Texas National Guard member’s action was inadmissible. They also expressed their concern about the impact on the human rights and safety and integrity of migrants,” officials said.
Man ‘Shot While Jogging’
“The two parties agreed on the importance of communication between the authorities on both sides of the border to prevent incidents, and of training the Texas National Guard members deployed on the border between our two countries,” they added.
Officials said the Mexican government will “continue to use all means at its disposal to prevent this type of incident from happening again and will continue to follow up on the case while remaining in contact and collaborating with the authorities in both Mexico and the United States.”
The Texas Military Department, which oversees the National Guard, confirmed the shooting in a statement to The Texas Tribune earlier this week but did not reveal the identity of the Texas National Guard member or the man who was shot.
Officials said the National Guard Service member was assigned to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, and “discharged a weapon in a border-related incident” but did not provide further information amid the ongoing probe.
Details surrounding the shooting are still unclear.
According to Enrique Rodriguez, a spokesperson with the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office, the 22-year-old Mexican man was shot while out jogging. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the buttocks but has since been released, Mr. Rodriguez said.
Commenting on the shooting during a press conference Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called it a “violation of international law,” adding that he has received a report on the Texas National Guard member’s separation from the military.
Soldier ‘Shot Man in Defense’
However, the Mexican president said the soldier had shot the Mexican man in defense of a migrant whom the man was allegedly seeking to harm.
Before shooting the man, the soldier first fired into the air, Mr. López Obrador said.
Meanwhile, El Diario, a Spanish language newspaper in Juárez, reported that the Mexican man, whom it identified as Darwin José García from the southern Mexican state of Veracruz, had initially told police he was a migrant attempting to cross into the United States.
However, he later told reporters he was out doing sports on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande at around 8:50 p.m. on the evening he was shot when he heard loud bangs and realized he had been hit in the leg. Mr. García reportedly told police that a group of migrants were crossing the river at the time he was hit, according to El Diario.
The Border Network of Human Rights, an immigration reform organization, has repeatedly called on Mr. Abbott to end Operation Lone Star and have Texas National Guard soldiers and Department of Public Safety troopers removed from border communities.
In a statement to El Paso Matters on Monday, the group also claimed the Mexican man was practicing sports near the border and was not attempting to cross when he was shot.
The organization also urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate what it said was “the disproportionate and illegal use of lethal force.”
“We are deeply appalled by the actions of the Texas National Guard, which under Gov. (Greg) Abbott’s leadership has continued to usurp Federal authority and unleash unnecessary chaos at our southern border,” BNHR Executive Director Fernando Garcia said.
Operation Lone Star
In response to the burgeoning crisis at the southern border, Mr. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 as a combined effort of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard. Many red states have since deployed air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high-threat areas along the Texas border.
Mr. Abbott wrote in an Aug. 12 post on X, formerly Twitter, that “Texas will continue to hold the line to keep our state and our country safe.”
According to the press release, more than 406,500 illegal immigrants have been apprehended since the start of Operation Lone Star. More than 32,700 criminal arrests have been made.
“Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps created by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border,” the release reads.
Lorenz Duchamps and Naveen Athrappully contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times