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Updated May 26, 2014, 12:31 pm Originally posted May 23, 2014, 12:54 pm
Friday night, a newly formed group of activists began a 48-hour vigil and fast in Nogales to call for justice for those killed or injured by U.S. Border Patrol agents, organizers said.
The Border Patrol Victims Network started the event on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Herald Park on Crawford Street and Grand Avenue. Activists were joined by family members of two shot by Border Patrol agents and a third who was severely injured during a confrontation at a port of entry.
Along with about 20 supporters was Taide Elena, the grandmother of José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, the 16-year-old resident of Nogales, Sonora, who was shot by Border Patrol agents on Oct. 10, 2012. Joining her was Guadalupe Guerrero, whose son Carlos Lamadrid was 19 when he was shot and killed in Douglas in 2011 and Shena Gutierrez whose husband Jose Gutierrez suffered a massive head trauma during his arrest at the San Luis Port of Entry in Yuma in 2011.
After a ceremonial dance by the Aztec dance troupe Mexicayotl, all three women spoke for a few minutes. Elena thanked supporters in Spanish while clutching a picture of her grandson, who was shot only a few blocks away.
Elena was followed by Guerrero, who spoke in Spanish. "It makes me sad to see my son's picture here with all those others who have been killed," she said.
Along a wall were photographs of people killed or injured by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers. At one point, Guerrero and Gutierrez lit a small candle marked with the names of those killed.
"We don't want money, we don't want revenge," said Guerrero. "We want justice to this doesn't happened to anyone else."
Gutierrez spoke about her husband who, she said, continues to suffer seizures and other problems. According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Jose Gutierrez went to the secondary inspection area at the port of entry and "got scared and tried to turn back." Gutierrez allegedly became "combative" and "ignored commands to halt" so an officer used a taser and Gutierrez fell, his head slamming into the floor.
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"We have no idea what exactly happened that day," she said. "All I know is my husband is different and no one has been held accountable," she said.
After the incident with Gutierrez, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement that noted, "We regret the injury and will continue to actively cooperate with the ongoing investigation."
No statements were released by the agency regarding either shooting.
Saturday at 5 p.m., a procession will start at Nasib Karam Park, betweeen West Park Street and North Morley Avenue and cross over the border into Nogales, Sonora to visit shines.
The vigil will continue at Nasib Karam Park through Sunday where a spiritual ceremony will start at 10 a.m. A closing ceremony will be held at 6 p.m., organizers said.
TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.