An armed man who joined a border militia patrol last month mused aloud about mass killing the migrants and asylum seekers they observed crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, prompting a member of the militia to alert local authorities, according to a police report unearthed by The Young Turks.
“Why are we just apprehending them and not lining them up and shooting them?” the man, Armando Gonzalez, asked United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) member Steven “Viper” Brant, who later reported the comments to police. Gonzalez reportedly added: “We have to go back to Hitler days and put them all in a gas chamber.”
A Sunland Park, New Mexico city clerk confirmed to reporter Ken Klippenstein, who obtained the report via a Freedom of Information Act request, that the group referenced in the document was UCP.
Brant did not immediately respond to TPM’s requests for comment. TPM was unable to find current contact information for Gonzalez.
Member of border militia that detained 200 migrants at gunpoint told police another member had said, “Why are we…not lining them up and shooting them? We have to go back to Hitler days and put them all in a gas chamber” per report I obtained under FOIA: https://t.co/XLUCBIAGTo pic.twitter.com/Bdtv3H28sp
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) May 6, 2019
Per the report, the group of militia members was monitoring the border on April 24 when they saw a group of people attempting to cross into the United States. Gonzalez allegedly handed Brant a handgun and took an AR-15 from his car.
Brant told the police that Gonzalez grew agitated when he was told to put the firearms away. Gonzalez then suggested killing the migrants rather than just monitoring their activity, according to the report.
A day prior to the police report, both men were quoted in The New York Times.
“I took an oath to protect my country and what’s happening on the border is an invasion threatening our people,” Gonzalez told the paper.
But two others at the militia’s camp, including Brant, said they didn’t consider Gonzalez a fellow militia member.
“He just showed up today,” Brant told the Times.
UCP has faced intense public scrutiny after posting videos on social media that showed militia members “arresting” migrants and asylum seekers who had made it across the borer. The militia members were armed and some falsely identified themselves as federal agents to the migrants, the videos showed.
After the initial wave of publicity, the group’s leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, was arrested and charged with possessing a gun as a felon. A bomb threat was called into the federal courthouse in Albuquerque on the day of his arraignment and detention hearing last Monday. Hopkins pleaded not guilty.
In finding that Hopkins’ continued detention was warranted, U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen B. Molzen noted among other things his “association with militia group ‘United Constitutional Patriots.'”