Chapeno, TX A shootout between a heavily armed group of citizen “border protectors” and an armored taco truck left one man dead and several others wounded, according to reports.
The militia group, APART (Armed Patriots Against Radical Terrorists), was patrolling the U.S. – Mexico border near Chapeno, TX, Friday night when an armored taco truck reportedly ambushed the group, leading to a shootout that ultimately claimed the life of APART’s Communications Director, John Lanza.
Authorities are tight-lipped on the incident but say, Lanza, 33, was a victim of “friendly fire” after a bullet fired by a militia member ricocheted off the armored vehicle and struck Mr. Lanza in the throat, killing him almost instantly.
The U.S. Border Patrol released a statement to ABC affiliate KRGV, stating: “We do not endorse or support private groups or organizations taking border security matters into their own hands.”
Based out of Keysville, VA, APART is a quasi-paramilitary force patrolling the southern border to intercept drug cartels and illegal immigrants trying to cross the border and detain them until law enforcement arrives.
Militia members are heartbroken over the loss of their fallen friend and have suspended all operations until further notice. “Brother Lanza was a God-fearing patriot doing what he loved to do, protecting the country he loved so dear,” said a statement released by the group.
“We believe cartel scouts were watching our location just to our southeast,” said APART founder/leader Rob Remus. “They successfully cut through the wash and pushed down right on top of us.”
APART was in the process of planting motion-activated cameras along what they claim are routes heavily used by drug mules and illegal aliens making their way across the border into the U.S.
But there is one significant problem APART is not U.S. Border Patrol officers. They are unauthorized armed vigilantes.
Critics of Remus, including local law enforcement, said his group is dangerous, and last night’s actions prove it.
Longtime border agent, Anthony Edwards, said he would “rather not see” Remus and his militia out here patrolling the border.
“The dynamics can be hazardous if we have folks coming in from the outside,” Edwards said. “They are not law enforcement and have zero authority to do immigration work.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center goes so far as to call APART an “extremist group,” citing multiple offenses, including the recent arrest of an APART associate who opened fire inside a Keysville business to protest ‘Gun-Free Zones.’ No one was hurt in the shooting, but multiple businesses in the area had to be placed on lockdown. Several employees are still coping with emotional distress following the incident.
Bud Freeman, a fourth-generation rancher, owns close to 60,000 acres of land bordering the Texas – Mexico border and said he is grateful to see APART on patrol, whether or not they are authorized to do so. “These brave warriors bleed red, white, and blue,” Freeman said, “they are the real deal.”
In 2005 Remus was accused of planting IEDs along the Mexican side of the border, allegedly targeting undocumented immigrants with makeshift explosives. He denies the allegations and said he was never arrested or charged. “That’s a bunch of hogwash,” said Remus.
APART first made national headlines in 2016 when they conducted a pre-dawn raid on a suspected terrorist training camp located in a remote section of Charlotte County, VA. After a tense 10-hour standoff, Rob’s gang of mercenaries was ordered to stand down after authorities threatened the group with felony weapons and trespassing charges, a move that angered many in the patriot community and led to an outpouring of support for Rob and his militia.
“Hussein Obama left our borders wide open,” Remus said, “leaving the Border Patrol understaffed and underfunded. Every non-disabled American must help protect our border until the wall is completed. President Trump cannot do this alone.”
It is unclear at this time what, if any, charges will be brought against Remus and his brigade of border protectors.
An invitation-only memorial service for Mr. Lanza will be held Saturday, May 27th, at APART’s HQ in Keysville.
Those in the patriot community can leave their condolences on APART’s official Facebook page.