Two days after U.S. Customs and Protection issued a statement in which they stated that a Border Patrol agent was defending himself when he shot and killed Guatemalan immigrant Claudia Patricia Gómez Gonzáles, they canceled a news conference and issued a new statement that contradicts the original one. The previous statement indicated that a lone agent, a 15-year veteran of the agency, responded to a call about illegal activity and found himself “under attack by multiple subjects using blunt objects.” He responded with gunfire that hit the 20-year-old who had traveled to Texas in hopes of getting help to pay for her education. Huffington Post reports that the second statement referred to Ms. Gonzales as a “member of the group” instead of as an “assailant” as the original statement said. It said that the Customs and Border Patrol agent order the immigrants to get on the ground but that they refused and instead attacked him.
The shooting became a news story because a woman who lives next to the Rio Bravo lot where the incident took place filmed it and uploaded it to Facebook. Marta Martinez says she started recording when she heard gunshots. Her video also shows paramedics performing CPR in an effort to save Gonzales’s life.
The victim’s mother, Lidia Gonzalez, told reporters that her family was poor and that her daughter had completed a forensics accounting program in 2016 but had been unable to find a job in Guatemala. She had hopes of continuing her education and securing a good paying job and traveled to Texas to work toward that goal. The New York Times reports that Lidia Gonzalez has asked for the return of her daughter’s body.
Gonzalez’s aunt, Dominga Vicente, spoke in a news conference in Guatemala City Friday and made a plea to the U.S.
“Don’t treat us like animals… This is not the first person dying in the United States. There are many people that have been treated like animals and that isn’t what we should do as people.”
Lidia Gonzalez had this to say about her daughter’s death.
“She left home 15 days ago, saying: ‘Mamita, we’re going to go on ahead, I’ll make money. There’s no work here,’ but shamefully they killed her. The migration killed her.”
Carlos Narez of the National Council for Migrant Assistance in Guatemala is insisting that there be an “exhaustive, impartial investigation.” The incident is said to be under investigation by both the FBI and Texas Rangers with help from the Customs and Border Patrol’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The agent who killed Gonzalez is on administrative leave.