Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr. was murdered in front of his family by two illegal immigrants. The pair of men, who confessed to the crime on Monday, had been deported from the United State multiple times prior to the killing.
Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, were arraigned for the murder of Javier Vega Jr. on Tuesday at the Willacy County jail. The illegal immigrants were ordered held without bail. Tijerina and Hernandez were charged with capital murder of a peace officer and the attempted murder of the Border Patrol agent’s father, among a variety of lesser included charges.
The two illegal immigrants from Mexico reportedly shot the off-duty Border Patrol agent in front of his family. One of the men charged with murder had been deported four times from America, the other man was reportedly sent back to Mexico twice.
Agent Vega was shot in front of his wife, children, and parents. The family had been fishing in Santa Monica at the time of the killing, Sheriff Larry Spence said. The illegal immigrants had been living in Texas, according to statements made during law enforcement interviews. When the men confessed they reported stated that they had conducted a robbery and knew they had killed someone but were allegedly unaware that the man was an off-duty Border Patrol agent. Sheriff Spence said that when they were informed that the man they had murdered was indeed an agent, they showed “shock and concern.”
The sheriff said the two illegal immigrants charged with murder were likely connected to a gang or the drug cartel.
Spence also had this to say about the confessed killers:
“They claim to have been involved in other incidents, this means you’ve got stolen vehicles going into Mexico. Everything is going to be cartel-related, there’s a connection somehow. This is not the first episode of border violence in Willacy County but it’s the first time someone’s bee killed.”
As the illegal immigrants approached the Vega family in order to rob them, the Border Patrol agent pulled out his weapon. The agent was shot in the chest before he could fire his weapon. Vega’s father was shot in the hip and is currently being treated at a local hospital. Tijerina is the prisoner believed to have fired at the father and son – the other man’s hands tested negative for gunshot residue.
Each of the time Tijerina was caught entering the United States illegally he was issued a $10 fine with jail terms ranging from 30 to 90 days.
Both of the prisoners have asked that the Mexican Consulate be notified of their incarceration and asked that attorneys be provided for them. The pair also wanted to be able to call family members. Tijerina shouted during the arraignment that there “was no robbery.”
Hernandez was shocked that seven charges were levied against him:
“I don’t understand why I’m being accused of so many things? I wish I could let my wife know and my brothers, the one who are here [about the arrest] I don’t have money, I don’t have anything.”
The National Border Patrol Council has set up a memorial fund on behalf of the agent’s widow and their three young children.
What do you think about the Border Patrol agents being killed by illegal immigrants while fishing with his family?
[Images Via: Border Patrol/Fox News and Free North Carolina]