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No Indication BP agent involved in shooting talked to investigators

By Dan Shearer [email protected] | Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:16 am

Border Patrol shooting Jose Luis Arambula A Pima County Sheriff's report detailing the May 30 shooting death of a suspected drug smuggler by a Border Patrol agent gives no indication the agent spoke to investigators and says fellow agents were upset at his treatment.The Green Valley News obtained the 230-page report Monday, about 10 days after the case was sent to the Pima County Attorney's Office to determine whether there will be any charges. No decision had been announced as of Tuesday.The report was lightly redacted and includes no interviews with the two Border Patrol agents at the shooting scene on the edge of Torres Blancas golf course in Green Valley. It only briefly mentions the actual shooting, when Agent Daniel Marquez fired nine shots, striking Jose Luis Arambula behind the ear and killing him.The report also indicates confusion and frustration by the two agents and their colleagues, who felt they were being “treated like a criminal” during the aftermath. The report also highlights an apparent lack of training for agents on what to expect after an officer-involved shooting.The PCSD took over the case after the FBI and Border Patrol declined to step in, “due to having no one to prosecute,” the report said. I-19 pursuit Agents were on to Arambula shortly after 2 p.m. May 30, when his vehicle triggered a sensor in the desert southwest of Green Valley.According to Marquez and his partner, Agent Todd Palmer, Arambula headed north on Interstate 19 at more than 100 mph before exiting at Esperanza Road and heading south on Abrego Drive. They said he drove recklessly and endangered several motorists during the pursuit. Arambula eventually went across the golf course and took his Jeep over a 15-foot cliff, according to one account, before it bogged down in sand. He then fled on foot into the pecan orchard with the two agents following.The report then recounts a radio call that indicated shots were fired but never gives an account of the shooting by Marquez, who was the only one to fire, or Palmer, the only witness. Twenty-one bales of marijuana weighing 504 pounds were found in the vehicle.Arambula, 31, was no stranger to the Border Patrol. He had been arrested April 4 after a chase in Tucson. In that case, he told agents he had been paid $1,000 to drive 11 bales of marijuana to Phoenix.Agents upsetHours after the May 30 shooting, Marquez and Palmer were read their rights because they technically were in custody, but they were never arrested. Their treatment — being separated from each other and not allowed to talk to anybody — angered agents, several of whom directed pointed and accusatory comments questioning the actions at Sheriff's deputies conducting the investigation, according to the report.Marquez was told by attorney Sean Chapman at the scene not to cooperate with the investigation and to answer no questions. Another attorney, Michael Bloom, became openly upset with deputies when he wasn't allowed immediate access to Marquez, according to the report.At least twice in the report, the Sheriff's Department raises the question of whether Border Patrol agents have been trained to deal with a post-shooting situation.“I asked him (Border Patrol union representative) specifically if they had any training on what would happen after they used their firearm in some type of use-of-force situation and he did not seem to understand what I was saying,” the report read.The report also recounts a conversation with the Border Patrol's Critical Incident Team, which indicated there is no training at the Border Patrol Academy on what happens after an officer-involved shooting despite requests from the team to include it. Shooting distance The report introduces potential confusion about how far away Marquez was when he fired on Arambula.PCSD Detective David Theel said immediately after the shooting that Marquez was 60 to 70 feet away when he fired nine times. Parts of the report back that up, saying Marquez indicated he fired at Arambula from 20 to 25 yards from where the body landed. Another section says nine shell casings were measured about 70 feet from the body, all within inches of each other. But three areas in the report leave open the question of distance.•A Pima County Sheriff's sergeant was the first to pat down the body. The report says, “He specifically stated he located no weapons on the body and examined the area around the body. He stated he saw fired cartridge casings, but no other weapons anywhere in the vicinity.”•A search warrant request included in the case report says “expended cartridge casings” were found “near the victim.” It does not give a distance.•A U.S. Customs and Border Protection use-of-force sheet included in the report said Marquez was nine to 15 feet from Arambula when he fired. That same report indicates, apparently incorrectly, that just three rounds were fired.Theel said at a press conference three days after the shooting that Arambula turned and made what appeared to be a threatening gesture just before Marquez fired. Monday's report briefly mentions that in a short statement by Palmer, delivered through his attorney. According to the report, Palmer said Arambula “had turned toward the agents with an object in his hand, indicating that he pointed it like a gun.”Arambula was not armed but a broken cell phone was found under his body. Also in the report •When Pima County deputies arrived on scene they found as many as 10 Border Patrol agents talking to the agents involved in the shooting. None had checked Arambula's body for weapons, and he had not been officially declared dead. The deputies made the check and cleared the way for Green Valley Fire District crews to check Arambula.•Border Patrol Agent Rafael A. Ruiz, the first supervisor on scene, took possession of Marquez's weapon and gave him his own because he said it was protocol not to leave an officer unarmed. Ruiz put Marquez's handgun in his own holster and checked the magazine, thus compromising it as evidence. Ruiz filed a memo titled “Evidence Contamination” with Tucson Sector Chief Manuel Padilla Jr., calling the magazine check a result of “muscle memory.”•The Border Patrol has declined to say whether Marquez, a six-year veteran, is back on duty.•At least one protester showed up at the shooting scene shouting anti-law enforcement statements.•Arambula was estranged from his family. He had not seen his grandfather Eduardo Silva in about three years; his mother, Elisa Beckel, said she had not seen him in four years after the family had a falling out when Arambula stole his grandfather's truck. She later asked for and received a necklace he was wearing.•The vehicle Arambula was driving — listed in the report as both a 1987 Jeep Cherokee and a 1997 Jeep Laredo — was registered to a Green Valley woman. It turns out she had no connection to Arambula, the vehicle or the case, and her name had been used without her knowledge. A battered document in the Jeep listed a Hawyard, Calif., couple as one-time owners.•A woman named Amethest Hurley identified herself as Arambula's wife and said they have a 2-year-old child together. She said she had last seen him two days earlier. Dan Shearer | 547-9770

Sean Chapman

Over the last 25 years, Sean C. Chapman has earned a reputation as a highly skilled, effective, and honest trial attorney in Arizona.  He has won some of the most significant high profile cases in Tucson in the last decade. As a federal prosecutor from 1997 to 2004, he was responsible for the trial and convictions of corrupt law enforcement officials and violent criminals.  As a defense attorney, he has tried and won several significant cases including two cases where U.S. Border Patrol agents were wrongly charged with murder.

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