Murder of Illegal Immigrants by Camo-Clad Group Still a Mystery; Similar Killings Have Happened Before

Details are still pretty light in the case of two illegal immigrants shot and killed Sunday night near Eloy, after they were "ambushed" by an unknown number of people in camouflage getup.

Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Dawn Barkman told New Times on Monday that there may have been as many as 30 people in the truck when it was fired upon, and most of the people in the truck booked it after the shots were fired.

There really aren't too many types of people who wear camouflage and shoot people trying to cross the border into the United States, but armchair investigators are mostly pointing to either a "rip crew" or some Nazi-type border vigilantes.

There's no indication that either of those profiles fits the description of the shooters, as the witnesses didn't catch much.

Aside from the previous descriptions simply involving people with rifles wearing camouflage, Barkman tells New Times witnesses relayed to police that the camo-clad people ordered the truck to "alto" -- Spanish for "stop."

The pronunciation of the word apparently didn't tip off the witnesses as to the speaker's nationality, and Barkman says the witnesses couldn't tell the nationality of the people by sight either, as it was too dark out.

Barkman also noted that there have been two other incidents "similar in nature" to the attack earlier this week, both in 2007.

In one of those incidents, three illegal immigrants were shot to death, and no arrests were made.

In the other -- which happened less than two months later -- two illegal immigrants were killed, although police caught two of the three shooters.

A motive wasn't determined for the first incident, but the second shooting was discovered to have been done by one of the "rip crews."

The sheriff's department also released the identity of one of the two men killed -- 39-year-old Gerardo Perez-Ruiz, a Mexican national from San José del Rincón, Mexico.

The other man is believed to be Guatemalan, Barkman says, and the sheriff's department is working with the country's consulate to notify his next of kin.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley