On October 25th, 2012, two illegal immigrants from Guatemala, Jose Leonardo Coj Cumar and Marco Antonio Castro, died from shots fired by a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper. Trooper Miguel Avila also wounded a third immigrant. What is “unusual” about this incident is that all three, Cumar, age 32, and Estrada, 29, and a third illegal immigrant who was wounded were all riding in the back of a moving truck. And Trooper Avila, when he pulled the trigger of his rifle, fired from a hovering Texas DPS helicopter.
The Texas DPS claims that its helicopter sharpshooter was just trying to shoot the tires of the fleeing vehicle. The truck’s driver, just 14 years of age, had refused to pull over when Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens approached the vehicle. Game wardens mistakenly believed the truck was full of drugs hidden under the tarp in back when, in fact, it was filled with illegal immigrants.
The second aspect of this incident which is “unusual” is that Texas DPS policy on October 25th, 2012, allowed trained snipers to shoot from helicopters at moving vehicles. Since that time this policy has been rescinded but, according to the Texas DPS, the change in policy was not the result of the two fatalities and the wounding of a third illegal immigrant.
It is now June and this incident is indeed becoming very “unusual”. No grand jury has as yet heard any evidence. The District Attorney of Hidalgo County, Rene Guerra, blames the New Mexico ballistics lab for not completing forensic tests. Guerra first announced the grand jury would hear the evidence on the deaths of Cumar and Castro in Febuary, 2013.
District Attorney Rene Guerra is the same official who made very interesting statements last Saturday night on a CNN Anderson Cooper Special Report “The Beauty and the Priest”. Guerra, who has been the District Attorney for Hidalgo County for 30 years, firmly believes that there is no sufficient evidence to bring to trial a priest who allegedly raped and killed a parishioner in 1960 despite what Cooper’s report asserted was new evidence.
However, in April Guerra did announce he would prosecute the 14-year-old truck driver as an adult.
Even in south Texas seven months is much too long a time to wait for justice for the two undocumented workers who are dead and the third who is wounded.