A leader of the self-described “Patriots,” a group of armed citizen volunteers patrolling the Rio Grande Valley border for illegal activity, said they were surprised that a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot in the direction of one of their volunteers last week, because moments before agents had sought their assistance, the Houston Chronicle reports. The agent fired five shots in the direction of one of the volunteers on Friday but didn’t hit him. The FBI is investigating the incident.
Rob Chupp, who heads up one of two Patriot teams in South Texas, said border agents frequently ask for backup from the volunteers, who have been in the area the past three weeks in response to a surge in illegal immigration in recent months. “They knew exactly what we were doing and where we were doing it,” Chupp said. “So it absolutely shocked us that this would ever happen.” A Border Patrol spokesperson denied that the agents request help from armed citizens groups. Chris Cabrera, vice president of the union representing Border Patrol agents in the Valley, said he had “never heard of an agent soliciting backup from any militia types.” He added, “If militia members call us or arrive on scene that is beyond our control, but we do not call on civilians for backup, it’s a very dangerous environment that we patrol.”