fbpx
facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
 

AJO, Ariz.—The FBI and the Tohono O'odham Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a Tohono O’odham citizen by U.S. Border Patrol agents last Thursday. 

The citizen, identified by the Tribe as Raymond Mattia, had called to report people trespassing on his property. Mattia was reportedly shot at his home at around 10 p.m. Thursday on the reservation near the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona.  

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

Agents from the Ajo Station were involved in the shooting, according to a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which did not share the identity of the deceased. The CPB's Office of Personal Reponsibility is also investigating the shooting. 

“Nation member Raymond Mattia lost his life in the incident,” Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family and all those impacted during this difficult time. As the investigation proceeds, the Nation expects full consideration of all related facts of the incident and an appropriate and expeditious response from relevant public safety agencies.”

Because the incident occurred on Indian lands in Arizona, which is a non-Public Law 280 state, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has jurisdiction to investigate officer-involved shootings, and other major crimes on Indian lands.

The Nation identified that the fatal shooting incident happened in Menagers Dam Village, which is only a few miles from the border. The shooting occurred roughly a week after the expiration of Title 42, a policy of both the Trump and Biden administrations designed to keep people from migrating into the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Title 42 stems from a public health law that became law in 1944, which hopes to limit migration in the name of protecting public health. 

When the measure expired at midnight on May 11, thousands of migrants, many from central and south America, attempted to cross the southern border. 

Upon entering the Tohono O’odham Nation, in any of the reservation’s main highways, there is a visible U.S. Border Patrol command station. 

Visitors can be stopped for any, or no reason on the reservation if border patrol agents suspect anything. In other words, it’s normal to see a U.S. Border Patrol agent or CBP vehicle on the Tohono O’odham Nation, which is the second-largest Indian reservation in the country of 3,000,000 million acres. 

Officials including the U.S. Border Patrol, the FBI, and Tohono O’odham Nation said they will not be releasing any additional information pending an active investigation.

More Stories Like This

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to Host Hearing on Public Safety in Indian Country
Native Bidaské with Kevin Sharp on Leonard Peltier’s Upcoming Parole Hearing
Senate Subcommittee to Hear Testimony on President Biden’s FY Budget for Indian Programs on Thursday
Native News Weekly (May 19, 2024): D.C. Briefs
Native Artist and Former Cultural Advisor to the Chicago Blackhawks Sues Team for Sexual Harassment, Fraud

These stories must be heard.

This May, we are highlighting our coverage of Indian boarding schools and their generational impact on Native families and Native communities. Giving survivors of boarding schools and their descendants the opportunity to share their stories is an important step toward healing — not just because they are speaking, but because they are being heard. Their stories must be heard. Help our efforts to make sure Native stories and Native voices are heard in 2024. Please consider a recurring donation to help fund our ongoing coverage of Indian boarding schools. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.