2 men charged with killing migrants in West Texas

Gavel and handcuffs stock photo.
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A former Texas prison warden and his brother have been arrested and face manslaughter charges for fatally shooting an unnamed male migrant in the head, according to a Friday CNN report.

They allegedly also shot an unnamed female migrant in the stomach.
As of Thursday, she was recovering at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

According to The New York Times, a law enforcement official identified the arrested warden as Michael Sheppard and the other arrestee was his twin brother, Mark Sheppard. Both men are 60 years old.

The Times said the migrants who were shot are “unauthorized,” and affidavits cited by the outlet said they were found miles from the Texas-Mexico border. They were “crossing through the desert in an apparent attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement or border officials,” said the paper.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has recently made headlines for bussing migrants who cross the border to cities in Democrat-run states. In Florida, fellow Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has done the same.

According to The Times, the migrants were walking in a group of at least four people along a roadway near Sierra Blanca in West Texas around 7 p.m. Tuesday and stopped by a water tank. At that time, a pickup truck approached them and they tried to hide as the truck stopped and backed up.

A man from the truck yelled at the migrants to “come out” along with profanity, the migrants said in interviews included in the affidavits. Then, two shots were fired after they heard the truck revving as if it was leaving.

“The driver leaned on the truck’s hood and fired two shots at the group of migrants before climbing back in and driving away, according to the affidavits,” said The Times.

Investigators traced the truck back to a home in Hudspeth County, which is rural area east of El Paso near the Mexico border. Both of the Sheppard twins were charged with manslaughter, according to affidavits.

They told police they did fire two shots, but that they had been looking for animals to shoot and thought they had spotted a javelina.
However, they said they didn’t go to check if they had struck anything.
Following the incident, they went to a county water board meeting.

“Neither could be immediately reached for comment,” said The New York Times. According to the outlet, the F.B.I., the Border Patrol and Homeland Security are assisting the Texas Rangers with the investigation.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the incident as a hate crime, according to the El Paso Times.

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