Vigil for Valeria “Munique” Alvarado – Young Mother Killed by Border Patrol

by on October 2, 2012 · 16 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular, San Diego

A crowd gathers for the vigil for Valeria Munique at the intersection of Moss and Oaklawn Streets in Chula Vista. (All photos by Frank Gormlie.)

Question is raised – is this our ‘Trayvon Martin’?

Nearly two hundred people attended the vigil for Valeria “Munique” Tachiquin Alvarado in Chula Vista Monday early evening. Family, friends, supporters and strangers – and the media – gathered at the intersection of Moss Street and Oaklawn Avenue – where she was shot to death by a plainclothes border patrol agent on Friday afternoon, September 28th, while in her car.

Valeria “Munique” Tachiquin Alvarado

The 32 year old mother of 5 had been fatally killed during some kind of interaction with the agent. Reports of what happened differed wildly. And during the at times emotional vigil family members, including the young woman’s father, called for answers and justice.

Speaking first, Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee spoke about the evening being a sober one. He said the community vigil “was called by the family to remember her life and bear testimony to the tragedy that occurred 72 hours ago. They demand justice.”

Ramirez called upon the Chula Vista police department investigating the shooting to release information on the agent – “We’re waiting,” he said, “to hear their response.”

“We’re here to let the family know they don’t stand alone. We won’t allow this kind of violence go without a response. It’s important to return to the location to reclaim it, to reclaim the life of Munique.”

The victim’s father, Valentine Tachiquin, speaks to the crowd.

Valeria’s father, Valentine, spoke next. Speaking in both English and Spanish, he thanked each person there for sharing “our pain. This is a great outpouring from the community.” Then in Spanish, he cried, “There are consequences for their actions!” to the murmurs of agreement from the crowd. He was born in TJ, he said, came to this country, and “moved to Chula Vista, had three kids. The community embraced me,” he said. “I’m so much a part of this community, that my daughter died here.” There weren’t many dry eyes.

Valentine went on:

“This is a political thing. They’re going to make my daughter look bad. Her character is not in question. The question is that they need to answer is ‘who killed her?'”

He said “the family will always be grateful because you guys are here.”

Antonio, Valeria’s brother, also thanked the crowd. He was about to be deployed as a US Army reservist when he sister was gunned to death. “All we are asking for is justice and dignity,” he said, and continued:

“There’s no hate or anger in my heart. If they [border patrol] made a mistake – anywhere that day – that they own up to it.”

Mingling in the crowd before the speakers began, I ran into a young man who had made a YouTube video rant about Valeria’s death. Considering himself a citizen video journalist, he and an associate had been out interviewing witnesses to the shooting. They had spoken to a dozen, he estimated. “The witnesses are scarred,” he told me. “There’s a lot of intimidation going on out there.” I had earlier heard from several people that after the shooting, border patrol agents had handcuffed witnesses.

This videographer – who will remain anonymous – told me that to a person, all the witnesses he spoke to totally disagreed with the border patrol version of the events that had transpired last Friday afternoon.

The current version is that the shooter was an un-uniformed border patrol agent serving a felony warrant in the neighborhood. He was not serving any warrants on Valeria – who is definitely a US citizen. She just happened to be in the neighborhood visiting. The official version has her running the agent down with her car – him jumping up on her hood – and she driving down Moss Street for “several hundred yards” with him clinging to the hood.

“Fearing for his life, he discharged his weapon to get the vehicle to stop,” Border Patrol Deputy Chief Rodney Scott claimed to the media.

The spot in the road where Valeria died.

The witnesses the journalist I spoke with said that they witnessed different parts of what happened. But they all agreed to disagree with the official version. He said:

“The [agent] shot her while she was backing up. He wasn’t on her hood.”

And to add more insult, no one rushed to give her aid – “she was still alive, still moving,” the videographer said. They just let her lie there, he added sadly.

More than one person raised the issue of whether Valeria’s shooting was “our Trayvon Martin case”. And this all depends on what the ultimate response is from the Border Patrol and the Chula Vista Police doing the investigation. The community and the family await this answer … and every minute is an eternity.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Bearded OBcean October 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

Out of curiosity, what does this have to do with Trayvon Martin, a black kid killed by a hispanic guy in Florida?


Frank Gormlie October 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Let’s see …. hmmm; innocent killed under authority of law with misleading stories given. Gee, don’t have the foggiest idea of why there’s potential parallels.


Bearded OBcean October 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

It’s a tragedy, but a non-sequitor to try to connect them. All that’s trying to do is stir up some racial animus where none exists.


Steve October 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

I disagree. Trayvon Martin was a victim of racial profiling. Valeria “Munique” Tachiquin Alvarado was a victim her drug habit. More info from Chula Vista PD has been released . Alvarado was on probation for a 2011 narcotics conviction, and in 2004 she was charged with a narcotics felony and pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance.


Steve October 3, 2012 at 8:13 am

Not to mention the fact that Trayvon Martin was shot by the head of the neighborhood watch captain, not an authority of law. Alvarado was shot by a Border Patrol Agent, a Federal Officer. Sorry, I don’t see the connection between Martin and Alvarado’s cases.


Frank Gormlie October 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

Both shot by persons acting under “color of the law”. Both killings have / had serious doubts about the “official” version of what happened.

Oh, btw, even if someone has a drug habit, not a reason for execution.


Wizard of Cape May October 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

Trayvon was shot in the chest , not in the head. funny how all the media attention vanished once Zimmerman’s head gashes and trayvons thug life background escaped the media narrative of a little kid in a Hollister shirt getting blasted by some racist gun toting neighborhood watch guy. Trayvon or @nolimitnigga (his twitter handle – yes really) made the fatal mistake of attacking a lawful carrier of a concieled firearm.


Bob Mc October 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm

The evidence that puts the lie to the Border Patrol’s version of what happened is that all the shell casings were found 20-30 feet IN FRONT of the victims car. If he had fired from the hood as the car was moving over a course of “several hundred yards”, the shells would be spaced out in a trail BEHIND the car.

Other questions I would like to see answered:

If as BP says this started near Moss & Broadway and ended a few hundred yards west of there at Moss & Oaklawn, why did the car end up facing east?

If the agent was so grievously injured, why was he seen walking around the crime seen afterward seemingly unharmed?

If he had to kill the driver to stop the car, how did it manage to come to a complete stop in the middle of the street? Logic would dictate that if the car was moving and the driver killed, it would keep moving until it hit something to stop it.


Bob Mc October 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Should be crime “scene” obv.


Bob Mc October 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Also, if the agent fired from the hood just 1-3 feet away from the windshield, why such a wide shot pattern?


jim grant October 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

It might be wise to let the facts come out.


Nacer October 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm

From Afghanistan where I am,

Bob MC,
let me borrow it from you with no other comments :”… if the agent fired from the hood just 1-3 feet away from the windshield, why such a wide shot pattern?”


jeff October 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

Its sad that now there is no due process in america.if you have a badge you are free to do as you please.I did see a glimmer of hope with the thomas kelly case.but im affraid city council is as currupt as the policein most cities .my point is its time to take our country back .you can start by getting justice for your wifes murder.america is behind you shoot the coward in his yard so his family can see.we already did an internal investigation into your act of justice.your actions are justified.if you are a man you will take action if not please shut up its time to stop talking.Im with you as are millions of True Americans.dont let this gov. kill one more wife,child mom,father.


jeff October 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm

ask Anonymous for help. Look the gov.does not care. there will not be justice for this murder only what you get for yourself.they will not give you any true info about this agents past so its up to you to get it and spred it through the media and internet.including address names of relatives exc. think about it if a felon cannot have a firearm to protect his home and family then they’re family is just as guilty.bullshit now its our turn make his families life a living hell


rick trujillo October 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Thank you OBRag, again and again, for raising important and critical questions that need to be addressed and answered. This kind of sensitive journalism connects communities that need to connect over these senseless tragedies.
Recall the video on PBS where more than 12… read a dozen, border agents stood over, repeatedly tasing, a helpless prone victim, Anastasio, to death, (haven’t heard much from the SDPD investigating that death, 2+ years ago)…..Rodney King (may he RIP) was beaten by 5 LA “serve and protect uniformed males,” twice the number delivered cop justice to Anastacio (for anyone looking for compaisons)…..summary execution by another name… they call it self defense..and fear for their lives. And Munique’s brother? Well, he’s off to Afghanistan soon to enforce “peace”, fight terrorists and defend us, right? More facts will surely come out but the Barrios already know the outcome.
There is no doubt that OBRag and it’s broad audience is deeply concerned and also distressed for the surviving children. That’s the stuff that makes us neighbors . This won’t be forgotten. The father thanked all who turned out. That most certainly includes OBRag. Xican@ Politics 101.


Greg Monroe October 23, 2012 at 2:28 am

It doesn’t matter if she is a drug addict. It should not have been shoot to kill. Come on! If she committed a crime then arrest her not kill her. If she fled, take down the license plate and give chase. Is she armed? Is she the person they were looking to serve the warrant to? What?


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