Chula Vista, Calif. — Approximately 300 people gathered in the city of Chula Vista, seven miles from the Mexican border, on Oct. 1 to mourn the killing of Valeria Munique Tachiquin Alvarado by a plainclothes Border Patrol agent. “Munique,” as friends and family called her, died on Sept. 28 under a hail of bullets from the thus far unidentified agent.
The vigil for Munique was held near the murder scene, where a memorial was erected. The event was organized by the American Friends Service Committee and lasted about two hours. Mourners lit candles and chanted, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” and “¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!”
Family members spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their support. Maria Puga, the widow of Anastacio Rojas, attended the vigil and spoke in support of the Tachiquin and Alvarado families. Forty-two-year-old Rojas was brutally beaten and tasered to death by Border Patrol agents at the San Ysidro, Calif., border crossing in 2010.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials claim an agent was serving a search warrant on an unidentified male when Munique intentionally ran him down with her car, striking the agent hard enough to cause him to flip onto the hood and windshield. The agent claims he was “dragged” several hundred yards on the hood before firing six to 10 bullets into the windshield.
Eyewitnesses gave an entirely different account.
“As the car was backing up, the officer was on the street walking towards the car and discharging [his weapon],” said eyewitness Prince Watson. Other witnesses say they observed the car movingly slowly in reverse away from the plainclothes agent. Witnesses also said he was not displaying his badge, nor did he identify himself as a Border Patrol agent.
Gilbert Alvarado, the husband of the slain mother of five, demanded answers. “My wife got killed for no reason,” he said during an interview with local media. “Where is the evidence my wife threatened a trained officer? I want justice.”
Munique’s father, Valentin Tachiquin, said the community support meant a great deal to him and his family. “It gives me power to continue on, seeing such a lovely outpouring of love for our family and for Munique.”