Father of Slain Border Patrol Agent Takes Stand on First Day of Trial

Local News

After months of jury selection, the trial for one of the two suspects accused of killing Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr., Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval, has finally started. 

Tijerina-Sandoval is being tried for capital murder.

Father Javier Vega Sr. was the first to testify, and was in tears as he recalled what happened August 3, 2014 near Santa Monica when his family was fishing.

Vega told the jury how he saw the red SUV that Tijerina and other suspect Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo were driving two times before they came back a third time.

A command in Spanish was given, “Get Down ‘Motherfu—ers” 

“They shot my son and they shot me, they jumped out their truck and they shot him right here, then they shot at me, he shot my son and the other guy shot me,” Vega Sr. said on the stand. 

Vega said after his son was shot, his son said, “Dad he shot me get him.” 

During the exchange of gunfire, which Vega said lasted 30 seconds, he was hit by a bullet.

He used a 40 caliber to return fire, and shot 9-10 times, unloading his gun at the suspects. 

Hernandez was shot and fell. 

Vega also had an AR15 on the scene. 

Vega told the court he had weapons with him for protection and shooting practice. 

After the firing stopped, the two suspects then drove away.

Vega said he crawled to his son, who didn’t move after being shot.

Vega and his wife picked up his son, put him in the truck and drove to the hospital. 

Vega said he told the hospital “Don’t worry about me, take care of my baby.”

Vega Jr. never regained consciousness.

Defense then questioned Vega, including discrepancies about how many times the SUV approached, and his wife Marie, shooting the AR, and the distance of the SUV.

Guns, photos of the scene and wounds were presented to the jury. 

Vega Jr.’s son, who was present during the gunfire, also took the stand today after his grandfather. 

Vega Sr. also recalled how his family had been to that same fishing spot many times before, and always felt safe. 

The jury, in which over 400 candidates were being interviewed one by one, is sequestered. 
 

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