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An off-duty customs and border protection officer admitted to threatening 3 tribal workers with a rifle, telling them he “shoots first, asks questions later”


Three Blackfeet Tribe employees said they believed Harrison Garrett Alvarez was going to shoot them while they were taking water samples on his property. Braunger / Ullstein bild via Getty Images

  • A CBP officer on leave admitted to assaulting three Blackfeet tribe workers.

  • Employees were on the officer’s property testing the water in the creek and said they had obtained permission from his wife.

  • The officer pointed his gun at the employees and told them to “shoot first, ask questions later”.

  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

A US Customs and Border Protection officer on leave admitted to pointing his rifle at three tribal workers who were taking water samples from his property, telling them he “shot first, put down questions later, “according to court documents.

Harrison Garrett Alvarez, a 30-year-old CBP officer in Montana, signed a plea agreement on July 16 admitting three counts of common assault. The Justice Department announced the deal in a July 22 statement.

Prosecutors said the altercation began on July 24, 2019, when three members of the Blackfeet tribe, who were also employees of the tribe’s environment office, arrived at Alvarez’s property to take samples. of Cut Bank Creek Water.

Alvarez’s property is located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and tribal workers said they received permission from Alvarez’s wife to be on the property. They said they also performed the same water tests on the property three more times during the same season, prosecutors said.

Members of the tribe told authorities they heard a gunshot sound as they began to take samples. They told Alvarez his wife had given them permission to be there, but the officer on leave disagreed.

Prosecutors said Alvarez’s wife later told authorities she asked employees to speak directly to Alvarez for permission, but added that she also reported their truck to Alvarez on the morning of the incident and had told him that it most likely belonged to “water people.”

Alvarez eventually allowed the employees to leave unharmed, but warned them that he “shoots first, asks questions later,” according to prosecutors.

“Even after they told him they were going to go, Alvarez, while pointing the gun at the victims, ordered them to come closer to him and asked them to drop their equipment,” prosecutors said. . “All three victims thought Alvarez was going to shoot them.”

A judge will convict Alvarez on November 18. Prosecutors said Alvarez faces a maximum of six months in prison, a fine of $ 5,000 and one year of supervised release on each of the three counts.

CBP told Insider in a statement that Alvarez was still employed, but “on a non-punitive basis pending the final decision in the case.”

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