Two migrants were shot while crossing the border through the desert west of Nogales last weekend, according to information provided by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s dispatch officers received a call from U.S. Border Patrol agents shortly after 8:15 p.m. on Monday, requesting medical and deputy assistance for two migrants who had been found with gunshot wounds. One was shot in the shoulder and the other had been shot in the leg, the agents reported.
Sheriff’s Lt. Gerardo Castillo told the NI on Thursday that Border Patrol agents found three Mexican nationals in the Tres Bellotas Ranch area, two of whom had been shot and who were transported to a hospital for further treatment.
He added that, according to the victims’ reports, the two had suffered the gunshot wounds while crossing the border with a larger group of about 10 people sometime before 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4.
“They (the victims) say they were walking… and they heard seven to eight shots fired at their location, so everyone ran and scattered,” he said, adding that the two men became injured in that instance. “But they didn’t see anyone shooting at them.”
The victims said they then roamed the area in search for help, at times hiding. They were unsure if the shooting happened on the U.S. or Mexican side of the border, but they believed they had crossed the border multiple times.
“They don’t know the area, so they don’t know where the shooting actually occurred,” Castillo said.
Border Patrol agents found the three men two days later near the Santa Cruz-Pima county line. After transporting the two gunshot victims to the hospital, they contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
On Thursday, Castillo said he was unsure of the current status of the three men, and if the Border Patrol had taken them into custody, or deported them back to Mexico.
“Since they’re victims, we don’t necessarily question the nationality or the legality of them being in the U.S.,” Castillo said, adding that Border Patrol handled that portion of the incident.