Camara sensed something was wrong when he saw who walked into the room: Wayne Payne, a pastor at Camara’s church in Pueblo. Before Camara was locked up, he and Payne had had a standing weekly chess game, and attended the same Wednesday-night Bible study. Over the years, their relationship had become almost familial, akin to that of a grandfather and grandson. When Payne sat down, Camara noticed tears in his eyes.
The day before Payne visited Camara, Arri had abruptly left work. She told a friend and colleague, Christy Adams, that she’d forgotten her lunch at home and was going to pick it up. When Arri didn’t come back, Adams began to worry.
At about 1 p.m., Adams checked her phone and noticed a text from Arri that said she was outside the office. The message had been sent almost an hour earlier; Adams had been busy serving lunch and hadn’t seen it.
She texted Arri back: You are starting [to] scare me. Are you ok
No response. Adams went outside and looked around, and noticed Arri’s white Toyota RAV4 parked next to the south side of the building. She approached the car and saw Arri hunched over in the driver’s seat. Adams called Arri’s name, opened the car door, and attempted to wake her. No response. Adams dialed 911.
Officer Christian Ceja of the Pueblo Police Department and his partner arrived on the scene a few minutes later. Ceja found Arri motionless. There was a bullet hole in her shirt and blood stains on her jeans. Another officer found a revolver on the floor of the passenger side. There were three live rounds and two spent shell casings in the gun, and a third spent shell casing on the passenger seat. The coroner arrived about 40 minutes later and pronounced Arri dead. The cause of death was a single, self-inflicted gunshot to the left side of Arri’s chest. Given where the bullet had entered Arri’s body, it seemed that she had aimed for her heart.
Then the police found the note.
This is too much. I can’t stand him not being w/ me and the thought of him not being w/ me to share our future together like we planned. I’m tired of crying about it every night when Idrissa doesn’t deserve this; we both don’t. I’m sorry everyone. I’m sorry Idrissa, I love you, love you all. Please cremate me. This pain is too much. My heart is broken. Don’t dare call me selfish. You don’t know what these 265 days have been like. Anyone who voted for Trump cannot attend my funeral. You helped ruin my life.
Payne told Camara all of this that spring day. Standing together in the detention center, they embraced in a long hug. When Camara returned to his cell, he curled up on the thin mattress and pulled his blanket over his head.
No one could have anticipated the trajectory of Camara’s life—his case and situation are distinctive—and yet his story is why immigration advocates are worried about a policy that encourages the detention of noncitizens anytime, anywhere, for any reason. “His case really exemplifies why we’ve been fighting for prosecutorial discretion for a decade,” says Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzales, a longtime immigrant-rights advocate who previously worked on Camara’s case as a paralegal. “His story also demonstrates the consequences that immigrants fear for doing the right thing, for showing up and taking responsibility, for trying to acknowledge past mistakes and do better and rehabilitate.”