Saturday, January 14, 2017



Note: another update, more to come?

Sheriff: Hunting party members fired on each other
By Lauren Villagran / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Friday, January 13th, 2017 at 9:22am
Updated: Friday, January 13th, 2017 at 10:29pm

A Texas sheriff says that a New Mexico hunting guide and his client who were wounded by gunfire on a hunting trip near the Mexican border last week may have shot each other — countering an account that "illegals" attacked them.

The wounded hunting guide's father says that "friendly fire" may have injured the hunter but that someone else shot his son.

In a statement to the Journal based on the accounts of the guides and hunters, Bob Daugherty said his son, guide Walker Daugherty, interrupted an attempted armed robbery, possibly by un‐ documented immigrants. The hunter may have been wounded by "friendly fire" amid a confusing scene, Daugherty said, "but the shot that wounded Walker was not."

So who shot Walker Daugherty?

Daugherty, 26, remains hospitalized in El Paso with a bullet wound to his chest and can't talk, according to the family and Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez. Edwin Roberts — a 59-year-old chiropractor from Pensacola, Fla., who contracted with the Daugherty family's Redwing Outfitters for an exotic big game hunting expedition — returned home after being treated for a bullet wound to the arm without speaking to law enforcement.

Dominguez said bullet shells recovered at the scene came from weapons belonging to the hunting party and there was no sign of human traffic to or from the ranch the night of the shoot‐ ing, Jan. 6.

As many as a dozen shots were fired, Dominguez said; shell casings recovered at the ranch have been sent to an El Paso crime lab for testing. But the bullet that hit Daugherty — which could tell what weapon shot him — is lodged dangerously behind his heart and cannot be recovered, according to the family.

The group was hunting aoudad, or Barbary sheep, on the 15,000-acre Circle Dug Ranch near Candelaria, Texas, west of Big Bend National Park and just a few miles from the Mexican border.

The family had called Border Patrol several times in the past month to report illegal traffic across the property, including a previous robbery, Daugherty said.

"There is no evidence that suggests 'cross-border violence,'" the sheriff's chief deputy in charge of the investigation, Joel Nuñez, said in an emailed statement. "This incident was a result of friendly fire among the hunting party, with contributing factors."

Dominguez told the Journal that neither he nor his deputies had interviewed the wounded victims.
Efforts to reach Roberts at his practice and by email were unsuccessful.

Daugherty said the sheriff's conclusion "doesn't seem to tell the whole story or take into ac‐ count what the hunters saw and heard, and what Walker and the others saw and heard."

The hunters heard a rattling at their RV door and voices threatening to steal the RV, accord‐ ing to the elder Daugherty's written account.

They began screaming for help, and Walker Daugherty, staying in a nearby hunting lodge, responded with a double-barrel shotgun, believing his clients were being taken hostage. Another hunting guide began firing, as well.

"Our boys responded to what they believed was a possible hostage situation," said Jennafer Daugherty, Walker's mother. "They are brave and, in the eyes of our hunters, they are heroes."

"We do not deny that friendly fire is what injured the hunter, but the shot that wounded Walker was not," Bob Daugherty wrote. "That shot came after the shooting had stopped and it came from a different direction."

Local dispatchers received a 911 call around 9:30 p.m. Nuñez arrived at the scene first. More than 30 Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations officers also responded.

"There were no bullet casings or projectiles from weapons other than those belonging to the individuals hunting on the ranch, nor in the RV belonging to the hunting party," Nuñez said in the emailed statement.

Border Patrol expert trackers and CBP officers using an aircraft with night-vision capability "concluded that there was no sign of human pedestrian traffic leading to or from the ranch that night," he said.

The Circle Dug Ranch is situated in a known smuggling corridor, according to Border Patrol and the Presidio County Sheriff's Office.

The Daugherty family has leased the Circle Dug Ranch for hunting expeditions for eight years. Border Patrol confirmed that, in the past month, occupants at the ranch had called at least twice to report illegal activity.

Redwing Outfitters charges $4,900 for four-to-six-day hunts in the area, according to its web‐ site.


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