Two hunters who claimed they were shot in an armed encounter in Texas with illegal Mexican border crossers are now facing criminal charges. Arrest warrants were issued for Michael Bryant and Walker Daugherty after they were indicted by a grand jury last Wednesday for one charge each of using deadly conduct by discharging firearms in the direction of others, a third degree felony, according to CBS affiliate KOSA. Despite the initial reports, Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez says the hunters actually shot each other, though no charges related to falsifying a report have been filed against them.
Hunting guides Daugherty and Bryant were leading a hunting party near the U.S. / Mexico border in January. In a previous interview with KOSA, Daugherty’s wife claimed they had often encountered illegal border crossers in the area on previous expeditions and that they had stolen property belonging to the couple.
On the night of January 6, police were called to the Circle Dug Ranch, where they found Daugherty and 59-year-old Edwin Roberts suffering from gunshot wounds, which they claimed were the result of a shootout with trespassers who had snuck across the border from Mexico. As news of the shooting spread across the internet, the incident was used by South Western politicians as proof for the need of a wall separating the two countries, and a GoFundMe page set up to help Daugherty pay his medical bills raised over $26,000. Law enforcement was skeptical from the outset of their investigation, according to The Washington Post.
The Sheriff’s office released a statement within days of the attack. “There is no evidence that suggests ‘cross-border violence,” said the statement. "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."
Authorities believe the shootout started when Daugherty heard people inside an RV on the property and believed it was intruders. In fact, it was Roberts and his wife. Daugherty tried to force his way without announcing himself, and Roberts - not knowing who was at the door - opened fire. Sheriff Dominquez told KOSA, “By the looks of it right now, we believe that during the shooting, with all the commotion and confusion going on, we believe that Michael shot Walker and Walker had shot Edwin.”
Sheriff Dominquez thinks paranoia is at root of the event, and that people in the area have no reason to worry. “Border Patrol are experts in tracking in this area,” he said. “We trust what they say because that’s all they do on a daily basis, and they didn’t find no sign, no indication that there was anybody in or out of that area that night.”
[Photo: Walker Daugherty GoFundMe Page]