State Watch

Texas National Guardsman on border security mission dies while on duty

National Guardsmen stands watch over a fence near the International bridge where thousands of Haitian migrants have created a makeshift camp, on Sept. 18, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating potential civil rights violations in Texas’ multibillion-dollar border security mission that has given the National Guard arrest powers and seen state authorities bus migrants to Washington, D.C., according to public records.

A member of the Texas National Guard who was assigned to the state’s border security mission died while on duty on Tuesday, the Texas Military Department confirmed.

The soldier reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from his duty weapon in Eagle Pass, Texas, according to the Army Times

“I ask all Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for the soldier’s family during this heartbreaking time,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement. “And for any Texan who is in crisis, we urge you to seek help immediately from a family member, loved one, or a mental health service.”

The Texas Rangers, part of the Texas Department of Public Safety, are leading the investigation into the incident, Abbott said.

If ruled a suicide, the incident would be Operation Lone Star’s fifth suspected suicide and tenth death since September 2021, according to Army Times. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 to increase security along the state’s southern border with Mexico.

Four soldiers on the mission died by suicide in the span of eight weeks starting in September 2021, Army Times reported.

Two other soldiers died in accidental shootings in January and February — one died in an effort to save two drowning migrants in Eagle Pass in April, and another from a blood clot after a long shift during a heat wave in July. Another soldier died in a motorcycle accident in July, according to Army Times.

Operation Lone Star has faced numerous problems since its inception, from its growing cost to complaints from National Guardsmen.

Tags Border border security Greg Abbott National Guard Operation Lone Star Texas Texas National Guard US-Mexico border

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