EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – One of two men accused of fatally shooting a migrant and wounding another Tuesday night near Sierra Blanca told a Texas ranger he and his brother went out that night hunting game, according to court documents obtained by Border Report and KTSM.
Mark Sheppard, 60, described how he thought he spotted a javelina in the brush. His twin brother Mike stopped their truck, got out with a shotgun, leaned on the hood and fired two rounds. The two men never stopped to see if Mike hit anything and proceeded to attend a water board meeting back in town.
In the two arrest affidavits charging the brothers with manslaughter, Mark Sheppard says he did not find out two migrants were shot in the same area until he heard about it on the radio later. He said he failed to report to authorities that he and his brother had been in the location where the migrant was shot.
But the affidavits publicly released on Friday show Mark Sheppard “changed his story” on several occasions, according to Ranger Juan Torrez.
Sheppard initially stated they were looking for ducks, then birds, then javelinas. He first denied being in the location in question, then admitted driving to an area known as the Fivemile Tank. When he spotted a “black butt” and told his brother who got out with the shotgun and fired, he told the ranger he asked Mike Sheppard “did you get him?” and then amended to “Did you get it?”
The affidavits don’t directly quote witnesses to the shooting but states the migrants in the group shot at paint and entirely different story of the incident. The migrants told federal agents who interviewed them that they stopped to drink water at the reservoir at Fivemile Tank.
The migrants said they took cover to avoid being detected when a vehicle passed by. Then a male yelled at them in Spanish, “Come out you sons of bitches, little asses!” The truck’s engine revved and two shots were fired, according to the affidavit.
Sierra Blanca is about 15 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. A large portion of that expanse is monitored by U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection security cameras with infrared capabilities.
The camera storage database allowed authorities to see images of the truck. A vehicle matching such characteristics was found later on Wilson Street in Sierra Blanca, according to the affidavit.
Investigators made contact with the truck’s owner, Mike Sheppard, who told them he’s the only one who drives the vehicle, according to the affidavits. But he declined to speak further with investigators and left – until officers arrested him later.