ACLU of Texas Reacts to Lethal Shooting of Unarmed Pickup Passengers

HOUSTON – ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke today called upon state officials to fully investigate the fatal shooting of unarmed persons in a moving vehicle on an open road by a Department of Public Safety (DPS) sharpshooter from overhead in a pursuit helicopter.

“If initial reports are accurate,” said Burke, “the DPS has starting executing persons who they merely suspect of the civil offense of unlawful entry into the United States.” Initial news reports indicate that a DPS sharpshooter in a helicopter responded to calls for assistance by a game warden in high speed pursuit of a motor vehicle suspected of transporting undocumented immigrants. News reports said at least two persons died in the Thursday incident which occurred near the small town of La Joya near the Texas-Mexico border in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

“We are eager to hear the facts in this case. What we know so far raises disturbing questions,” said Burke. “Why is a state game warden involved in enforcement of federal immigration law? Why is a game warden in dangerous high speed pursuit of people who were suspected of nothing more than a civil offense? And where’s the ‘public safety’ when a trooper in a helicopter opens fire on unarmed persons in a vehicle on a public road?”

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