Former prison officer, ex-warden charged with killing undocumented migrant

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Former prison officer, ex-warden charged with killing undocumented migrant

A former jail warden and a former prisoner have been charged with fatally shooting an undocumented migrant and injuring another who had stopped for water at a West Texas reservoir, an arrest affidavit obtained Friday shows.

Mark Sheppard and Michael Sheppard, both 60, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in the Sept. 27 shooting 93 miles southeast of El Paso, according to the affidavit, which was dated Thursday and was written by a Texas Ranger.

Some congressional lawmakers viewed the shooting as a hate crime and called for federal authorities to investigate.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said the FBI is investigating, but declined to make any further comment. The agency's local field office didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

A spokesman for the Lasalle Corrections told the Associated Press after the shooting, Michael Sheppard, the former warden of a private detention center in Sierra Blanca, was fired by the company that operates the facility.

Scott Sutterfield, a spokesman, attributed the firing to an off-duty incident that was unrelated to his employment and declined additional comment, the AP reported.

The brothers were driving by a group of undocumented migrants who took cover in the brush, according to the affidavit. The driver stopped, backed up and got out, then leaned on the truck's hood and allegedly fired two shots at the group, according to the affidavit.

One was struck in the stomach and taken to a local hospital. The affidavit shows that another died at the scene.

The migrants told authorities that before the gunfire, one of the brothers could be heard shouting an expletive in Spanish and revving the truck's engine. As they looked up to see if the truck had driven away, they heard two shots, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, investigators found a truck owned by Michael Sheppard and checked cameras in the area. When authorities approached him, he admitted that the vehicle belongs to him, but declined to discuss the shooting, the affidavit shows.

The affidavit says when investigators approached Mark Sheppard, he changed his account of the shooting. He initially told authorities he wasn't at the reservoir, but then said he and his brother were there to hunt.

According to the affidavit, he said his brother used a shotgun to fire twice at what he described as a javelina.

Mark Shepard denied yelling anything, and said that he and his brother went to a local water board meeting after the shooting.

It wasn't immediately clear if the men had lawyers to speak on their behalf. Jail records showed that Mark Sheppard was held at El Paso Downtown Detention Facility.