The head of a Texas volunteer border militia has said that he does not want two members of the group to return when they are released from jail.
According to KRGV TV, K.C. Massey, the leader of the border patrol militia based at Camp Lonestar in Brownsville, has forbidden the two men -- who were arrested on weapons violations -- from rejoining the group because they are damaging to the group's image and its agenda.
According to officials, militiaman Steven Kurt Brooks left a loaded weapon behind in the restroom of a Stripes convenience store. Brooks is not licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Fellow volunteer Richard Coonie Smith reportedly tried to claim the gun to keep Brooks out of trouble, but Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio told KRGV that the man he had seen in surveillance video from the store clearly wasn't Smith.
Brooks was arrested on unlicensed weapon charges and Smith was arrested for making false statements to police.
Camp Lonestar's Massey tried to distance his group from the two men, saying, "They were volunteers who came in from another state. They were here to help us on the border."
After their arrests, however, Massey said, "We will not allow them back into the camp."
"I can't explain or say why [Brooks] did what he did. I can tell you it is against what we tell people to do here at camp," he concluded.
The arrests are the second incident involving Camp Lonestar volunteers. Earlier this summer a volunteer was fired upon by an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol who mistook him for an illegal migrant.
Volunteers of various stripes have streamed to the border states in recent months in response to an influx of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have arrived at the U.S. border fleeing turmoil in their home countries.
In Arizona, a group of armed civilians on ATVs surrounded and menaced people who they thought were illegal migrants, but who turned out to be scientists who were in the border area attempting a wildlife survey.
In the wake of that incident, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said of the volunteer militiamen, "These people that are completely out of their environment. They really don’t know the area. They don’t know the terrain. They have little knowledge of the dynamics of the border. So it can be a real problem. We really don’t want them here.”
Civilian man with rifle indoors (Shutterstock.com)