"Meet powerhouse artist/activist Favianna Rodriguez — a leading voice in the movement of artists raising awareness about U.S. immigration issues."
- I am OTHER
The Untold Story of Latinos in America “We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.”
Juan González, Harvest of Empire
"Meet powerhouse artist/activist Favianna Rodriguez — a leading voice in the movement of artists raising awareness about U.S. ...
Monday, January 14, 2013
10News - Witness to deadly shooting by Border Patrol agent disputes official account
By Mitch Blacher and JW August
SAN DIEGO - A witness to the shooting by a Border Patrol agent that killed a mother of five said he saw the agent fire from the street, directly contradicting the official account. He also says when the shooting stopped, other agents harassed and detained him.
Prince Watson was reluctant to come forward, but he said his sense of civic responsibility compelled him to tell his story.
"I don't want to see this covered up," said Watson, a Marine and Iraq War veteran.
Watson described what he saw at a Chula Vista intersection on the afternoon of Sept. 28, where Border Patrol Agent Justin Tackett shot and killed 32-year-old Munique Tachiquin.
A Border Patrol spokesman told media the day of the shooting Tackett and other agents were in the neighborhood to serve a warrant, but Tachiquin was not the target of the warrant. Tackett was not in uniform, and other witnesses have said he wore nothing identifying himself as a federal agent.
Watson said he was stepping outside for a cigarette when he heard the first shot that day.
"It was just repetitive shots," Watson said. "It became murder after that second shot was fired."
Investigators said Tackett was on the hood of Tachiquin's moving car and feared for his life.
"She literally ran our agent down," Border Patrol Deputy Chief Rodney Scott said immediately after the shooting. "The agent was actually impacted and carried several hundred yards on the hood before fearing for his life and did discharge his weapon to get the vehicle to stop."
Watson said that is not what he saw.
"Just watching him from a standing position firing at the front of the car at the female," Watson said. "He was not on the hood of the car. He was standing on his two feet."
Watson said he could see Tackett's face -- that he was less than 30 feet away.
"After the shots, you see Border Patrol agents coming from everywhere," he said.
Watson said one of those agents wanted to know what he saw. Watson said he told the agent he didn't have to say anything.
"He basically told me, 'No, if you're not going to give us a statement we're taking you into custody, you're under federal investigation, you're being detained.' And he handcuffed me and threw me in the car," Watson said. "They were trying to tell me what I saw. They kept repeating themselves, 'Hey that was an agent. He was on the hood of that car.' I was scared."
Watson said a Chula Vista police officer arrived and freed him.
"He just basically told him (a federal agent) you need to let this guy go -- you're in violation of his rights," Watson said.
Chula Vista police would not confirm or deny Watson's version of events.
Watson said he has been in therapy for post traumatic stress disorder for a year and a half.
During his readjustment back into civilian life, Watson had a non-violent run in with the law, and today he is in a criminal diversion program for veterans.
He said despite his condition and whatever skeptics may say, he knows what he saw.
"Unjustified behavior is what I saw," Watson said. "I saw a man with no self control."
Tackett did not return calls to comment for this story. The Border Patrol said they cannot make statements about an open investigation.
The FBI and the Chula Vista Police Department are investigating Tachiquin's shooting death.