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REDFORD, May 22, 1997 - One of four U.S. Marines assisting the Marfa
Border Patrol Sector in a drug interdiction mission shot and killed a
young Redford man Tuesday evening, authorities said.
Ezequiel Hernandez Jr., 18, was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:30
p.m. Tuesday by Presidio County Justice of the Peace Dan Bodine, who
said, Wednesday he ordered an autopsy.
The shooting occurred about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in Redford, the south
Presidio County border community near the bank of the Rio Grande about
15 miles east and downstream from Presidio.
"We know two shots were fired at Marines, and one shot was returned,"
said Marfa Border Patrol Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Jerry Agan.
He said that the FBI and the Texas Rangers - in addition to the Presidio
County Sheriff's Office - are investigating the incident and were at the
Said Maureen Bossch, public information officer for Joint Task Force
Six: "The Marine returned fire. They were fired upon first."
Neither Agan nor Bossch would release the name of the soldier who shot
and killed Hernandez.
Bossch said Joint Task Force Six is based in El Paso at Fort Bliss and
is a U.S. Department of Defense agency. It fulfills requests by federal,
state and local law enforcement agencies for assistance in counter-drug
These military teams attempt to remain undetected on U.S. soil and staff
listening and observation posts along the border with Mexico, she said,
passing information to law enforcement agencies, in this case, the
Border Patrol, which requested their presence.
"The military does not get involved in law enforcement," she noted.
"In this case, the Marines came from Camp Pendleton, California," Bossch
said. "It was a four-man team."
Agan said the military has been assisting the Border Patrol in drug
interdiction efforts since 1990.
He said this particular operation began about a week ago. The Marines,
who were on foot, were assigned to a listening and observation post near
Polvo, a low-water river crossing near Redford that is known as a
The Marines have erected a tent near the Marfa Municipal Airport and
have two medical evacuation helicopters based at the Presidio
But something went terribly wrong Tuesday, said Presidio County
Commissioner Juan Jose Muniz of Presidio.
"I'm very upset," he said. "They snuffed the life of an innocent young
He added that authorities on the scene wouldn't let Hernandez' father
approach his son's body and treated the father rudely Tuesday night.
Muniz said family members told him it was Hernandez' daily routine after
school to tend the family's herd of goats and take a gun with him to
shoot rabbits and snakes.
"Did anyone ever approach the county on this mission?" Muniz said. "We
need to look at this situation very closely."
Authorities found a .22-caliber rifle with Hernandez, Bodine said, and
sources said officers also found two spent shell casings near the body
and a box of .22-caliber cartridges.
Bodine said Hernandez appeared to have suffered from one gunshot wound
to the torso.
He said Hernandez, a Presidio High School sophomore, had just turned 18
on May 14.
Presidio ISD Superintendent Dr. Sharon Morrow described Hernandez as a
well-mannered and quiet young man.
She added that the incident has the entire student body, teachers,
administrators and staff distraught.
Counselors from Alpine have been called to the high school campus, she
"One teacher had to go home (Wednesday) she was so upset," Morrow said.
More counselors were called in Wednesday afternoon because the need was
so great, according to a source.
Presidio County Judge Jake Brisbin Jr. said the county has known about
military assistance to the Border Patrol for drug interdiction efforts,
but that no formal agreement apparently exists with the county.
He described the incident as "tragic," but added that it's too early to
make a judgment about the military-Border Patrol operation.
"Over the years, they've given important information to the Border
Patrol," Brisbin said of the military task force. "This is the first
instance of this kind."
He added that the Border Patrol, as well as local and state law
enforcement agencies, need help in stemming the flow of illegal drugs on
the southern U.S. border.
"What they're saying is they(the Marines) took fire over a period of
time," Brisbin said.
"But it's perfectly normal for a kid out here to have a gun for snakes
and stuff. There's nothing unusual about that."
Mario Ortiz, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service, which includes the Border Patrol, said late Wednesday this
particular listening post observation post' operation had been suspended
"The mission no longer is in effect," he said
PECOS, May 22, 1997 - A roomful of concerned individuals were on hand at
the regular Town of Pecos City Council meeting to discuss juvenile crime
"We need to try to find a program to deter or reduce the problem," said
juvenile probation officer Alberto Alvarez.
Referrals to the local agency are decreasing, but there have been more
hearings, according to Alvarez.
"Law enforcement entities are very involved and I have even had some
members from the commissioners court approach me about their
observations, not only here but in other cities," said Alvarez.
Alvarez outlined some of the offenses juveniles have been referred to
his office for including two 13-year-old's in possession of marijuana
and seven for assault causing bodily injury.
"It's been a busy month," said Alvarez.
Alvarez stated that what has happened in the last six months is that a
group of concerned parents wanted to meet with him and they readily
admitted that they were the parents of some of these juvenile offenders.
"They're the parents of these troubled kids and they don't want to be
the cause of the problem, they want to be part of the solution," said
According to Alvarez this group of parents are very concerned about the
juvenile crime rate in Pecos and want to do something to help, while
admitting that their own children might be a part of the problem.
"They've admitted that they know their children are part of a gang,
carry weapons and are a threat, and they don't know who to turn to get
the kind of help they need," said Alvarez.
Assistance is very limited, as are resources for people in this area,
according to Alvarez.
Alvarez stated that he has an outline of a task force which he wanted to
present to the council and photos of graffiti found all over town.
"It's a growing problem that is getting out of control and we need to
clear it up as fast as it comes up," said Alvarez.
Alvarez said that he has had about six local citizens who have admitted
that they know who was the cause of certain graffiti problems, but were
reluctant to report it for fear of retaliation.
Recently a guest speaker at the Pecos High School, Terry Moore,
assistant district attorney for Tarrant County, spoke about the problem
and stated that it is headed our way and once it gets here we won't be
prepared to deal with it.
"She told us that we need early community intervention and coordination,
she spoke about what motivates gangs, gang jargon and showed a video of
how their dealing with the problem in that area," said Alvarez.
"It's a growing problem and gang members range in age and are not
limited to boys only, but there are many girls involved," he said.
Alvarez jokingly talked about a new gang leaving their mark all over
town, the GMI or Going Mentally Insane Gang.
"What's that telling us about the youth?" said Alvarez.
Alvarez has met extensively with Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore and
Sheriff Andy Gomez who have been very receptive and encouraging.
"Our county attorney has also been actively trying to find a solution to
the problem," said Alvarez.
According to Alvarez, County Attorney Walter Holcombe, has been very
responsive in reviewing all the juvenile cases and in giving advice on
how to deal with these cases.
"I think because times have changed, new trends need to be looked at,"
It's gotten to the point that juvenile probation officers are spending
time supervising these youth out there and that's really not what we're
supposed to do, according to Alvarez.
"I don't want to sensationalize this issue," said Alvarez, "but it is a
These parents are not turning a blind eye to what is going on, they are
facing the problem by admitting their child needs help, according to
"I feel like the law enforcement individuals are not doing their job,
not helping, why wait until they (juveniles) break the law?" said one
The Pecos Police Department is a reactive agency, not proactive,
explained Police Chief Troy Moore.
"We're just called out when something happens, we're not proactive," he
After a lengthy and informative session, Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Rodriguez
suggested that a task force be formed and that the issues at hand
receive immediate attention.
"We need to start doing things immediately and not wait until something
goes wrong, something happens," said Rodriguez.
The immediate problems that will be addressed by the task force include
talking to the concerned parents and finding out their needs, covering
up graffiti in town and possibly set up a day curfew.
"The trees were just planted on Monday," said Hannsz, who is very
disappointed by the thefts. He also said that the trees weren't even dug
up, just pulled up out of the ground.
"We have a lot of students who worked really hard on this project, and
the Pecos Housing Authority has put a lot of money into this project as
well. We feel that this is extremely disrespectful to everyone who
worked so hard on it, and to the town as well," said Hannsz.
The three trees were taken Tuesday night, confirmed Vanessa Hernandez, a
PHA occupancy clerk.
The new playground is across the street from the PHA office on
Meadowbrook Street, bordered by Sage Street and Teague Street. Two of
the trees were taken from the Sage Street side and the other one was
taken from the Teague Street side.
"There were other trees laying on the ground in the field nearby that
weren't stolen, which makes us thing someone just did it to be mean,"
PHA executive director Nellie Gomez was unavailable for comment, but
asked Hernandez to relay the message that if it turns out that the
thefts were committed by a PHA tenant, Gomez will immediately begin
The housing authority would like to ask area residents to keep an eye on
the park. Anyone with information about the thefts can either contact
the housing authority at 447-2807 or the Pecos police at their
non-emergency number, 445-4911.
PECOS, May 22, 1997 - One young Pecos High School sophomore will be
traveling to Indianapolis this summer thanks to a special program.
Alva Alvarez, a sophomore student at Pecos High School recently attend
the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation (HOBY) Annual Leadership Seminar in El
Paso. She joined more than 60 other young leaders representing a many
high schools from throughout Texas on May 16-18.
At that seminar she was chosen to represent the Far West Texas Region at
the week-long World Leadership Conference in Indianapolis, In. in August.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity and I hope to represent Pecos
well," said Alvarez.
"This is the first time in a long time that people at this school can
remember that one of our students will be attending this conference,"
said school counselor Pat Cobos. "We're just very proud of her and wish
her the best," she said.
For the past 39 years, HOBY Leadership Seminars have brought together
select groups of high school sophomore who have demonstrated leadership
abilities in their high schools and communities so they can interact
with groups of distinguished leaders in business, government, education
and the professions to discuss present and future issues. The goal is to
provide the students with a stimulating forum for learning about the
American incentive system and democratic process and for broadening
their understanding of their leadership potential and quest for self
"The HOBY seminar challenged me to think about the many issues affecting
the world around me and helped me understand that as a leader, I have
the power to make a positive impact in business, government and
society," said Alvarez. "HOBY helped me see the leadership potential in
myself and to understand that goals and dreams are important regardless
of what profession I choose," she said.
The Hugh O'Brien Youth Foundation was established by veteran actor Hugh
O'Brien following a visit to Africa where he was inspired by a meeting
with Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
"One of the things Schweitzer said to me was that the most important
thing in education was to teach young people to think for themselves,"
O'Brien said. "From that inspiration, and with the support of others who
believe in youth and the American dream, I started HOBY to seek out,
recognize, and develop outstanding leadership potential among our
nation's youth," he said.
"It's a really great program and it was a wonderful experience traveling
to El Paso," said Alvarez.
Even though Alvarez states that she doesn't always "have her nose stuck
in a book," she is considered one of the top sophomore students at the
school, which is why she was chosen to attend the El Paso seminar.
"We nominated her to go to El Paso because she is one of the top
students, and from there she was chosen to go to Indianapolis," said
"I think to succeed you have to be dedicated," said Alvarez.
Alvarez is a member of the student council where she is vice-president,
a member of the Latin Club and Mu Alpha Theta and is in the St.
Catherine's Catholic Church Confirmation group. She is also a member of
the golf team.
The Pecos Optimist Club is sponsoring Alvarez in her endeavor.
She is the daughter of Alvaro and Luz Alvarez of Pecos.
PECOS, May 22, 1997 - Long a concern in many school cafeterias, the
dairy industry has responded in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah School District
by providing funds to buy "milk barrels" that will keep milk cold, even
though they have open tops that allows students to easily serve
"The federal school lunch program is more than 50 years old now, and
kids today still are encountering the same problem as those who first
ate meals at school - milk that is less than refreshing because of its
temperature," said Tammie Potts, consultant for Dairy MAX, the regional
dairy promotion and nutrition education organization. "Schools battle
the equivalent of what could be expected at home if you left your
refrigerator door open for several minutes - the cold air escapes and
the milk and other items become warmer. In schools, though, the doors
might be left open for a couple of hours."
"We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Dairy MAX program,"
said Helen Miller, school food service director. "This kind of
innovation and testing shows, among other things, that our child
nutrition program in Pecos schools is concerned about the quality of
food and is constantly striving to improve how it is prepared and
Dairy MAX provided $2,100 to the Pecos district to help purchase 21 milk
barrels. Regionwide, the field test that concludes in November involves
1,200 schools at a cost of $500,000. Dairy MAX will evaluate the
different approaches used to place the equipment and the ultimate effect
on milk consumption.
One approach Dairy MAX has used this spring is a milk promotion week.
During the week of April 7, nine of the Pecos schools promoted colder
milk to their students. Elementary schools had a "Milk Thing" theme in
order to draw the students attention to the new equipment and the
importance of milk. Junior high and high school students had the "Got
Junior high and high school students had the opportunity to win a $5
gift certificate with each carton of milk they purchased. If results in
the 1,200 schools are positive, the program will be expanded to the
remaining 9,800 schools in the region.
The milk barrel is a portable container that holds a case of half-pint
cartons, surrounded by ice. Even though they are refrigerated, "cold
wall" cooler boxes begin to warm, by 10 degrees or more over a two-hour
period, after their doors are swung open for serving. The curtain panels
provide a see-through barrier students can reach between to get their
Forced-air coolers use fans to circulate cold air to chill the product
and can hold the proper temperatures while their doors are open.
Laboratory tests have shown the barrel and the cooler curtains can
maintain milk that already is at the desired temperature.
Dairy MAX believes the increased popularity that colder temperatures can
bring milk also will help the organization reach another goal -
prevention of osteoporosis.
"Kids are falling short of their needed calcium intake," said Tammie
Potts. "Their years in school happen to be critical years for building
bone mass. Girls especially are at risk, but boys also need to be aware
that preventing a disease of mostly older people," Potts said.
The eighth graders will graduate tonight at 8 p.m. in a ceremony in the
Balmorhea High School Auditorium. Nicole Haynes is the valedictorian for
the eighth grade class of 1997, while Sarah Keeper is salutatorian for
The high school graduation will also be at 8 p.m. in the school
auditorium Friday night.
Graduation for Pecos students is still a week off. Pecos High School
seniors will hold their 1997 graduation on May 30 at 8 p.m. in Eagle
PECOS, May 22, 1997 - Leta M. Scott, 82, of Pecos, died May 20, 1997 at
the Columbia Medical Center in San Angelo.
Service will be held at 2 p.m., tomorrow, May 23, at the Pecos Funeral
Chapel with burial at the Mt. Evergreen Cemetery. Rev. Greer Willis will
Scott was a retired library clerk who had lived in Pecos since 1956.
Survivors include: one son, Bob Scott of Fort Worth; one daughter, Judy
Weinacht of San Angelo; two brothers, James Nesbitt of Borger and Paul
Nesbitt of Fort Worth; one sister, Lucille Stangla of Burleson; four
grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
PECOS, May 22, 1997 - Bernard Jares, 73, died today, May 22, 1997, in an
Services are pending at the Pecos Funeral Home.
PECOS, May, 22, 1997 - High Wednesday, 79, low this morning, 56.
Precipitation in the last 24 hours, .17 of an inch, for the
month-to-date, .82, for the year-to-date, 3.55. Tonight will be mostly
cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. The low
will be around 60 with southeast winds at 5-15 mph. Friday will be
mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. The high will
be 80-85 with south winds at 10-20 mph. Memorial Day weekend will
include a chance of thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday, to partly cloudy
Monday. Lows are expected in the upper 50s to lower 60s with highs
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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