El PASO, Texas – A pair of grainy booking photos give a first look at the two illegal aliens accused of gunning down an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent who had been fishing with his family.
The two men had been arrested and deported several times prior to the Sunday night murder of agent Javier Vega, authorities told Breitbart Texas.
On Tuesday, 40-year-old Ismael Hernandez and 30-year-old Gustavo Tijerina went before a Willacy County Justice of the Peace who formally charged them with one count of capital murder, attempted murder, and several counts of robbery and tampering with evidence charges. The two men remain at the Willacy County jail without bond.
The two men are accused of trying to rob Vega and his family at gunpoint Sunday night as they fished in the southeastern part of Willacy County near the community of Santa Monica. Sheriff Larry Spence had previously told Breitbart News that the men had confessed to being behind a series of robberies in nearby Cameron County where they would fire guns into the air to scare their victims and then take their valuables and vehicles.
“They would leave them stranded,” Spence said.
The ruse went awry Sunday when Vega and his relatives who were armed fought back shooting several rounds at the gunmen blowing out their windshield and damaging their SUV. The shootout left Vega with a fatal gunshot wound to his chest and his father with a wound to his hip. Vega’s father is expected to recover. Authorities arrested the two gunmen, who had been hiding in a storage shed in a nearby town after a 5 hour manhunt.
Hernandez and Tijerina, both from the Mexican border city Matamoros, had been living in the Rio Grande Valley illegally, had family in the area and had been previously deported several times. The city of Matamoros lies just south of Brownsville Texas and is currently the scene of regular daytime firefights between members of the Gulf Cartel and their rivals as well as with the Mexican military.
The National Border Patrol Council issued a statement lamenting the death of Vega but praising his willingness to fight stating that his actions kept with the traditions of the U.S. Border Patrol. On Tuesday, the NBPC sent out a brief message through their social media account on Twitter stating that Vega was the victim of “lax border enforcement” blaming the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Presidents from the last 20 years for their failure to act.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter: @ildefonsoortiz.