As new details emerge from the shooting death of Arizona native, Robert Krentz, it appears the rancher tried to flee the murder scene in his Polaris ATV vehicle before he succumbed to his fatal injuries.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s office released new details today regarding the murder of the third generation Arizona rancher. Concerned residents of the Southeast Arizona community are fearful of the brazen attacks from illegal aliens well inside the U.S. borders.
The Sheriff’s office says Krentz went missing sometime after 6:00 p.m. on Saturday while working on his 35,000-acre ranch. The victim’s brother reported he communicated on Saturday with his brother using hand held radio phones.
Krentz’s brother said the last transmission from his brother was distressing and all he heard was “illegal alien” and “hurt.” The Cochise Sheriff spokesperson, Carol Capas says it was not uncommon for Krentz to assist illegal aliens who were in trouble on his property.
When Krentz failed to meet his brother at the predetermined location a call was made to the Sheriff ‘s office. The Cochise Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team deployed six mobile units and two ATV’s and air support immediately to the ranch.
“Shortly before midnight the helicopter crew advised that they had located the missing subject who was deceased inside his Polaris ATV and his dog was with him and appeared to be injured,” Capas said. “Investigators tracked the Polaris path back 1,000 feet to where the incident began and detectives were able to determine that Krentz apparently came upon at least one subject in the area.”
Authorities suggested that Krentz and his dog were shot while still in the vehicle when they attempted to drive away from the scene. “The ATV vehicle was driven at a high rate of speed before the victim became unconscious,” Capas said.
Border Patrol was alerted once the murder was known and BP trackers embarked on a search for the perpetrator. The Border Patrol Agents followed (foot) tracks that headed south towards Mexico.
After the victim was found, Krentz and his dog were taken to the Cochise County Medical Examiner to determine the exact time of death, according to Capas.
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever admitted they don’t have a motive for the murder at this point, but said it could have been a retaliation killing.
According to a story in the Arizona Daily Star, the victim’s brother reported drug smuggling activity in the area to the Border Patrol the day before. “Agents found 290 pounds of marijuana on the ranch and followed tracks to where they found and arrested eight illegal immigrants,” said Border Patrol Tucson Sector deputy chief Robert Boatright. “None were prosecuted because of a lack of evidence. They were all in custody when the shooting (of Mr. Krentz) occurred,” he said.
It was not uncommon for Krentz to call Border Patrol and report the location of illegal aliens or help them with food and water if they required assistance.
Sheriff Dever also reported there was another incident in the past 24 hours of the murder that could possibly be connected to the crime. This event involved a stolen gun, but Sheriff Dever would not elaborate on the details surrounding the possible theft.
Local Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) released a statement today regarding the murder of the Arizona rancher.
“The cold-blooded killing of an Arizona rancher is a sad and sobering reminder of the threats to public safety that exist in our border communities,” said Giffords. “It has not yet been determined who committed this atrocity or why, but I know that federal and local authorities are mobilizing every possible resource to locate and apprehend the assailant.”
“If, as suspected, this tragedy was connected to smugglers or drug cartels, the federal government must respond appropriately,” said Giffords, who’s 8th Congressional District includes 114 miles of international border. “All options should be on the table, including sending more Border Patrol agents to the area and deploying the National Guard.”
The Congresswoman sent her condolences to the Krentz family. “I can't begin to imagine losing a loved one in such a tragic way. Rob Krentz was a pillar of the Cochise County ranching community. He will be greatly missed,” she said.
Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer commented on her Facebook page about the tragic murder. "Today I call for immediate action by the federal government to increase public safety at Arizona’s border through the addition of National Guard soldiers and airmen. I made my initial request for additional troops to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on March 11, 2009, followed by a joint letter from four border governors to congressional leaders on April 22, 2009. Since then, federal officials have neither denied the request, nor fulfilled it."
The Arizona governor has indicated she will sign tough new legislation in the next few weeks making it illegal for immigrants to trespass in the state, essentially making it illegal to be illegal in the state of Arizona.
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