Texas Matters: DPS, Miltarization And Lives On The Border | Texas Public Radio

Texas Matters: DPS, Miltarization And Lives On The Border

Mar 6, 2015

A Texas Department of Public Safety sharpshooter and spotter ride in a helicopter training exercise on the Texas Mexico border.
Credit State of Texas DPS

It was in October of 2012 that a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter joined in a hot pursuit in the Rio Grande Valley. Officers suspected that pick-up truck they were chasing was loaded with bales of marijuana. To bring an end the chase a sniper in the helicopter fired 15 times at the tires of the truck.  

DPS Armored Gunboat in the Rio Grande
Credit David Martin Davies

However, The truck wasn’t carrying drugs but people who were hiding under a tarp in the bed of the pick-up. The DPS sharpshooter shots hit three of the passengers, killing two immigrants who had crossed the border illegally. 

Undocumented immigrants flee into the desert after a DPS sharpshooter disables the pick-up truck they were riding in.
Credit DPS video screengrab

  The Texas legislature refused to hold hearings about the incident and there was no public investigation. Now the Texas Observer has released the most comprehensive examination of the shooting with the article "Death on Sevenmile Road."

Melissa Del Bosque is a staff reporter for the Observer and was recently recognized with a National Magazine Award for her reporting on the border.