At least five killed in trailer-park attacks in Georgia
September 30, 2005
TIFTON, Ga. – Five men were killed and at least six other people were wounded in what appeared to be a string of robberies targeting Hispanic immigrants at trailer parks in and around the city early Friday, authorities said.Two suspects were being sought.Some of the victims were beaten with an aluminum baseball bat found at one of the scenes, and at least one victim was shot, Colquitt County Sheriff Al Whittington said.The attacks took place in southern Georgia, about 180 miles south of Atlanta. Three were in Tift County; a fourth was in neighboring Colquitt County.”We think they’re tied together,” said Colquitt County Sheriff’s Capt. Hal Suber.All the dead were immigrants from Mexico, and all but one belonged to the same family, according to Francisco Dominguez, who said his uncle and a cousin were killed in their trailer on the outskirts of town.”He came here to work and here is where he died,” Dominguez said. “He should have gone out to build chicken houses this morning.”Whittington said the attacks might be linked to other robberies of immigrants in the area over the past two weeks.Immigrants “carry large sums of cash and that makes them an easy prey,” the sheriff said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with race or hate.”Tift and Colquitt counties are home to at least 14,000 immigrants from Mexico and Central America who work on cotton and peanut farms, said Luz Marti, a volunteer with Our Divine Saviour Church in Tifton.Efrain Navarro, 25, who lived with two of the men killed, said he was awakened about 1:30 a.m. by loud groans, as if someone was hurt.”I didn’t see the suspects,” he said in Spanish. “I heard them speaking in English, so I couldn’t understand anything.”Navarro said he ran to a neighbor’s trailer about 100 yards from his home, trying to get help. “I was knocking on their door when I heard the shots – two shots,” he said.He said he hid inside his truck until daylight and had a friend call police.Among the wounded, at least two were in critical condition, said Mike Lewis, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent.In the Colquitt County attack, a man was shot in the head and beaten with a baseball bat, and his wife was hit in the mouth, Suber said. The man was in stable condition. Suber said it appeared the woman would be OK.—Associated Press writer Giovanna Dell’Orto in Atlanta contributed to this report.