A Texas family says justice has not been served in the shooting death of Jesse Benavides, who was gunned down at a family birthday party in front of his 8-year-old son in 2011.
Seven weeks before the murder, his attacker, Santana Gaona was in jail in Dallas County accused of raping and beating his wife. Gaona was flagged as an illegal immigrant and scheduled to be deported.
ICE officials later canceled and released Gaona because “another law enforcement agency” asked them to remove the detainer, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Gaona was reportedly an informant for multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, according to TheBlaze.
Benavides, 33, tried to break up a fight between Gaona and his estranged wife on Oct. 22, 2011, when Gaona fatally shot him.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” said the victim’s brother, Juan Benavides. “If someone was an illegal immigrant and had a history of violence, for him to just slip through and open up the murder situation — nobody understands that.”
The Benavides family told TheBlaze they haven’t found any closure. They are in the process of filing a complaint with the FBI and have considered filing suit.
“I still can’t go a day or minute without thinking of my brother Jesse,” Juan Benavidas said. “Jesse isn’t the only person whose been killed unnecessarily by criminals like Gaona, who shouldn’t be here to begin with. Where’s the FBI now? Why haven’t they ever said anything to our family — since it was their guy who killed my brother. Why wasn’t he deported when he was arrested the first time?”
Unnamed ICE officials told TheBlaze that ICE officers rarely deport people who haven’t commited a crime after their illegal entry into the U.S., adding that deportation is a complicated matter.
After his arrest for murder, Gaona was again flagged for deportation. It is unclear whether he has been prosecuted or deported since 2011. The FBI told TheBlaze it cannot comment on informants.
“I’m sure that this is not a weekly or daily thing, but there is negligence on the part of our government for not enforcing their own laws,” Juan added. “These illegal immigrants need to be incarcerated or deported — he took an 8-year-old child’s father. Who’s going to explain to Micah what happened and why? This is a huge weight and it still doesn’t make sense to him. I’d like to see something that’s public that will require a higher level of responsibility when it comes to informants and illegal immigrants. At work I’d be fired for this level of irresponsibility — it’s baffling to me.”