The Main Stream

Jun 15, 2010 9:22 PM

Border crossers come under fire

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY - Investigators say two people with high-powered rifles and dressed in camouflage opened fire on a group of illegal border crossers.

The suspects are still at large.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada says it happened early Friday morning up Peck Canyon, just west of Rio Rico.

He says, "the suspects opened fire on them. The people who crossed the border spread, they scattered. Four of the seven people were able to make it up to the Rio Rico area and one of them had been shot."

Sheriff Estrada says the gun shot wound to the person's forearm is non-life threatening.

Estrada says the suspects were probably after drugs. But he fears the shooters might have been United States citizens. "They may be individuals who may be hunting illegal border crossers. That's really a big concern for us," he says.

He also says this same group of crossers found skeletal remains of a man from Mexico. "We don't know if that individual died of the terrain, some health problems he had or he might have been a victim. This is what happens up those valleys and canyons," Estrada says.

He says he hopes the investigation will determine if U.S. citizens are shooting at people crossing the border but says, "I hate to think that is what we're looking at but we're not going to dismiss any possibilities."

The group of illegal border crossers were turned over to the Border Patrol and are suspected of transporting drugs or people.

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