U.S. Border Patrol agent Javier Vega, Jr., 36, of Kingsville, Texas, was shot and murdered in cold blood while off duty on Friday. He was killed in front of his wife, his parents, two of his sons, and another child during a fishing trip in the Rio Grande Valley. Vega was armed during the time of the attack:
The Vegas were shot while gar fishing with the agent’s wife, his mother, two children and another child in the Santa Monica area off FM 1420 about 3.5 miles east of the north levee, Spence said, adding the location was “their favorite spot.”
The suspects confessed to committing other robberies but investigators did not know if they were behind a series of robberies around CameronCounty fishing spots, Spence said.
Natalie Vega, the agent’s sister-in-law, said Javier Vega Jr. is survived by three sons ages 9, 13 and 18.
“The boys are taking it pretty hard,” she said Monday outside the family home in La Feria. “We’re doing as well as we could be.”
She said the agent was shot at “point-blank” range.
“I don’t think the agent got (the gun) out,” she said. But her father-in-law returned gunfire as the suspects fled in a vehicle described as a maroon SUV.
Natalie Vega said her father-in-law was expected to be released today from Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.
“He was shot basically from hip to hip,” she said. “It went right through the fatty tissue of the lower back.”
Marie Vega, the agent’s mother, called authorities to report the shooting of her son and husband at about 8 p.m. Sunday, Spence said.
Two suspects pulled up in a vehicle to approach the agent and his father before gunfire followed a “discussion,” Spence said. The agent’s father returned gunfire, disabling the suspects’ vehicle.
Authorities found that vehicle “a few miles away” on FM 2629.
Authorities have detained the suspects, Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, both Mexican nationals from Matamoros who crossed the border illegally. They face charges of capital murder, attempted capital murder, four counts of aggravated robbery, and tampering with evidence. Tijerina has an extensive rap sheet already. Records show he’s been arrested at least four times for illegally entering the U.S., between 2006 and 2009. The maximum sentence he served was a total of nine months in the Bureau of Prisons where he was assessed $100 and given credit for time served. Each time he was released officials simply dropped him off at the border, and he was allowed to walk right back into the country.
Will the federal government finally take real action now that an American has been murdered?