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Resident shoots illegal alien in self-defense

Originally published here as:
Arizonan shoots, hits hiding border crosser
April 08, 2001

TUCSON - A rural Arizona resident who surprised a group of undocumented immigrants hiding in a travel trailer in his back yard said he shot and wounded one of them.

"I feel bad for these people, they're in a bad situation, but they put us in a bad situation, too. I was afraid for my life," said Wayne Lockridge, a Bisbee real estate agent whose home is three miles north of the Mexico-Arizona border.

Desiderio Gomar Valadez, 45, of La Torrecella, Guanajuato, was airlifted to a Tucson hospital.

Jeff Phillips, a doctor at Copper Queen Hospital in Bisbee, told Mexican Consul Miguel Escobar Valdez that the bullet entered through the back of the immigrant's left shoulder and went through the left jaw and passed into the sinus cavity.

Lockridge told authorities he didn't remember shooting. He said he found the group of 10 to 12 people while investigating a broken window in the 8-by-15-foot trailer.

"They probably came in from the cold," Lockridge said.

About 400 undocumented immigrants turned themselves into authorities as rain and cold swept the border area Thursday night and Friday. Temperatures ranged from the 30s into the 50s.

Lockridge said he had felt whoever broke the window probably was gone "but I took my .38 revolver with me as a precaution. When I opened the door of the trailer, it was packed with people."

"Then one of them turned toward me and I saw a knife and the gun went off," he said. "I don't remember shooting, I must have been in shock. I started screaming and yelling and they started screaming, then they just took off."

Lockridge said he reported the break-in to the Border Patrol. Agents found the wounded man a short time later about a mile north of the Lockridge home.

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