The Nogales International ran a story this past Friday on yet another mysterious shooting of an unarmed migrant nearby Rio Rico in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
The shooting, which occurred July 2 according to the report, wounded Jose Enedion Acosta-Amaniego in the back. Acosta-Amaniego survived the incident and was treated at a Nogales hospital.
A spokesman for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office told reporter JB Miller that Acosta-Amaniego "was walking with 10 other undocumented immigrants" when "an unknown number of assailants" opened fire on them.
The report, of course, calls to mind a similar shooting June 11 in the same area, where two unidentified men in camouflage fired upon a group of migrants, wounding one man with a gunshot wound to the left forearm.
At the time Sheriff Tony Estrada suggested the perps could have been U.S. citizens "hunting illegal border crossers."
I called up Sheriff Estrada to ask him about the most recent incident. As with the first, the victim was not able to identify the attackers, even to say whether or not they were Anglos.
"In most cases, it's at night when it happens," said Estrada of such attacks. "And when they do eyeball anybody, it's usually people using camouflage. You can't recognize who they are or they're quite a distance to them."
Estrada informed me that Acosta-Amaniego was injured with what seemed to be a shotgun pellet, and that his office learned of the attack after the man turned himself in to the Border Patrol, seeking help.
The sheriff admitted the attacks could be linked.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"It's a possibility," he told me. "There have been groups there that have been ripping off drug loads. So it's very possible."
He also said that many of these attacks probably go unreported, and that people may "get shot and die out there."
And what about the possibility that the suspects might be Americans operating in any of the vigilante groups out in the desert "patrolling" on their own? Estrada seemed to throw a little water on the speculation this time around.
"I don't dismiss the possibility," answered Estrada. "There's no history to back it up. But being along the border, we're always mindful of everything. There's nothing to indicate that at this time."