Protesters chant and hold signs during the “Bridges Not Walls” protest on Sunday, Jan. 29, in Downtown Reno.

Authorities have arrested a man believed to be responsible for four homicides in Reno and the surrounding area over the last month, giving a community on edge a little peace.

After the arrest was made, it was discovered the 19-year-old, Wilbur Martinez-Guzman, was an undocumented immigrant living in Carson City for about a year. Why Martinez-Guzman decided to murder these four people and his connection to them remains unclear at this time.

Connie Koontz, 56, Sophia Renken, 74, Jerry David, 81, and his wife Sherri, 80, died before their time came, and Martinez-Guzman deserves any and all punishments that will be given to him should he be found guilty. However, his immigration status should not stoke fears and create hatred toward immigrants in our community.

President Donald Trump tweeted about Martinez-Guzman’s immigration status on Monday, Jan. 21, two days after the arrest.

“Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our Country. 26 people killed on the Border in a drug and gang related fight. Two large Caravans from Honduras broke into Mexico and are headed our way. We need a powerful Wall!” Trump tweeted.

Immigration has been a hot-button issue during the past couple years during Trump’s presidency with his comments and policies toward immigration ignited a fierce debate across the country. As of publication, the federal government shutdown over funding for Trump’s wall has reached day 29. However, Trump’s comments about immigrants in the U.S. have been proven inaccurate.

According to a study conducted by the Cato Institute, published in 2018, immigrants are more than 55 percent less likely to commit a crime than native-born Americans. This also holds true for more severe crimes such as homicide.

Martinez-Guzman does not represent all immigrants, and his actions are not the norm of immigrants in this country. It is imperative his immigration status does not become a narrative used to promote fear and hatred of immigration, or of the Hispanic community. Nor should his immigration status become the main story rather than his actions.

He should be tried and convicted for the murders and other crimes he committed, and his name should fade into oblivion while the names of his victims should never be forgotten.

Connie Koontz.

Sophia Renken.

Jerry David.

Sherri David.

They should be remembered for who they were and what they did. Their legacy should not be used as a pawn in a political game.

The Editorial Board can be reached at, and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.