The family of 22-year-old Jesus Ivan Sepulveda Martinez is speaking out after he was shot and killed last Tuesday (September 27) in the desert 93 miles southeast of El Paso, Texas, in Sierra Blanca, Texas.
Twin brothers Mark and Michael Sheppard were arrested on manslaughter charges. According to NBC News, the brothers stopped their truck when they saw a group of migrants in the brush and allegedly fired a shotgun at them twice. Martinez was killed at the scene. Another migrant, Brenda Berenice Casias Carrillo, was injured and taken to a local hospital. Mark Sheppard told investigators his brother, who is a former warden in the area, took the shots at what they believed was a javelina.
Martinez’s father, Napoleon Sepulveda, told Border Report that his son crossed the border to work, so he could save money to purchase a house for himself and his family.
“His desire was to go to the other side to progress a little bit,” Sepulveda said. “We live in a little ranching community where there is hardly any work. He had just gotten together with his wife. His dream was to go and save for his house because here in Mexico jobs are poorly paid.”
He also demanded justice for his son, “When people go to the U.S., sometimes things go wrong. I would like for the authorities to give those men the maximum punishment, that they do not let them go free.”
Martinez’s wife, Sandra Cardenas, wondered why the brothers chose to shoot their gun at her husband instead of doing something that would not have led to his death.
“He did not deserve that,” Cardenas said. “[Those men] could have called immigration. They could have done something else but not shot them. They treated them like animals. They tried to hunt them like animals. [Jesus] was just looking for a better future for our children. He wanted us to have our own house, our own car. That was his dream.”
On Friday (September 30), Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro called the incident a “hate crime,” called out the Texas governor and lieutenant governor for their “invasion rhetoric” and demanded that authorities bring murder charges against the men who killed Martinez.
“This was a hate crime against brown-skinned immigrants that was inspired by the invasion rhetoric of [Texas Gov. Greg Abbott] and [Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick] and others,” Castro wrote. “The division and fear that Greg Abbott and his fellow bigots have created has made Texas a more dangerous place for all Hispanics.”