NATIONAL NEWS

Newly released body camera footage shows Border Patrol agents shooting a tribal member in Arizona

Jun 23, 2023, 12:56 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

FILE - U.S. Customs and Patrol Patrol agents sit along a section of the international border wall t...

FILE - U.S. Customs and Patrol Patrol agents sit along a section of the international border wall that runs through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 in Lukeville, Ariz. U.S. Border Patrol agents answering reports of gunfire shot and killed a man on a tribal reservation in southern Arizona after he abruptly threw something and raised his arm, the agency said Monday, May 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released body camera footage that shows Border Patrol agents were concerned that a tribal member they fatally shot last month may have been carrying a handgun during an encounter on a remote corner of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona.

The man, Raymond Mattia, 58, died shortly after the shooting the night of May 18 outside a home in the reservation’s Menagers Dam community near the U.S.-Mexico border. Audio of a telephone call included with the video confirms the agency’s earlier report that the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department called agents for help responding to a report of shots fired.

The video released late Thursday shows Mattia throwing a sheathed machete at the foot of a tribal officer and then holding out his arm, actions that the CBP mentioned in its earlier account of events.

After Mattia was shot and on the ground, an agent declares: “He’s still got a gun in his hand.”

The footage also shows several agents asking repeatedly whether anyone had found a firearm as they moved in to handcuff Mattia. There was no sign a handgun was found.

CBP said earlier that the three Border Patrol agents who opened fire and at least seven others at the scene were wearing body cameras and activated them during the shooting. The agents involved in the shooting are on leave with pay.

The Pima County Medical Examiner separately released its examination report Friday, which said Mattia had nine gunshot wounds. An accompanying toxicology report showed Mattia had a high blood alcohol level and drugs in his system, including amphetamine and oxycodone.

The FBI and Tohono O’odham Nation are investigating the shooting but have not released any findings. The shooting is also under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

No air ambulance was available to take Mattia to a hospital because of bad weather, CBP said, and despite lifesaving efforts, he was declared dead at the scene after consultation with a physician at a Tucson hospital.

CBP says it has issued about 7,000 body cameras to agency workplaces under a program launched in August 2021.

This year, it has released body camera video of several fatal shootings involving its agents, most recently a fatal shooting near Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 2.

In that case, agents shot a man they say came after them with a wooden club after he went through a checkpoint without stopping and led them on a nearly 23-mile (37-kilometer) chase.

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Newly released body camera footage shows Border Patrol agents shooting a tribal member in Arizona