A 37-year-old Mexican man in Ciudad Juárez was injured on Saturday night after a National Guard member on duty at the Texas-Mexico border in El Paso fired across the Rio Grande, according to the Texas Military Department and Mexican news outlets, the Texas Tribune reports. A spokesperson for the military department said the shooting is under investigation. According to El Diario, a Spanish language newspaper in Juárez, Darwin José García of the southern Mexican state of Veracruz initially told police he was attempting to cross into the U.S. But the man later told reporters he was practicing a sport on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande around 8:50 p.m. Saturday while a group of migrants were crossing the river, according to the newspaper. García said he then heard shots and realized he had been shot in the leg.
In December 2022, Gov. Greg Abbott sent state troopers and National Guard members to El Paso as part of Operation Lone Star, a multibillion-dollar state effort launched in 2021 to deter migrants from crossing the Rio Grande along the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border. Saturday's shooting happened near the Bridge of the Americas, which is close to a national park on the Mexican side. The man was treated by paramedics at the scene, transported to a Juárez hospital and was later released, according to La Verdad, a news outlet in the Mexican border city. It’s the second time that a Texas National Guard member has shot a civilian while deployed for Operation Lone Star, and the third known time that a soldier has fired their weapon while on duty at the border. On Jan. 13, Spc. Angel Gallegos shot migrant Ricardo Rodriguez Nieto in the shoulder near Mission in the Rio Grande Valley. The soldier claimed he accidentally fired his service handgun while wrestling with Rodriguez Nieto, who denied touching Gallegos and said the shot was fired from the kitchen into the living room of an abandoned home. Other migrants who witnessed the shooting echoed Rodriguez Nieto’s version of events when interviewed by Texas Rangers. According to documents provided through an open records request, the Hidalgo County District Attorney declined to present the case to a grand jury, citing insufficient evidence and unclear jurisdiction.