Murdered Douglas rancher to be laid to rest

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Robert Krentz By Alicia Barron Robert Krentz By Alicia Barron

DOUGLAS -- Hundreds are expected to turn out this weekend to say their final farewells Robert Krentz, a well-known southern Arizona rancher who was shot and killed on his own property, allegedly by a suspected illegal immigrant.

Reward offered as ranchers arm themselves in wake of murder

DOUGLAS - Southern Arizona ranchers are arming themselves as tensions along the border grow and calls for a U.S. National Guard presence intensify.

This stems from the murder of a well-loved Arizona rancher who was shot on his family's 35,000-acre ranch near Douglas over the weekend. Police suspect it was the doing of an illegal border crosser.

Lynn Kartchner, who sells guns, tells 3TV, “I sold one of these, a Lugar 357.” He says he is busier than ever selling guns to ranchers afraid for their lives. Kartchner explains, “We had four people in today buying handguns for their wives.”

Frustrated ranchers who feel under siege on their own land are reeling from the death of long-time rancher Robert Krentz who was shot and killed by a suspected illegal immigrant.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever says, “They are in his backyard, maybe a 30,000-acre backyard but his backyard.”

It has been the Krentz family home, where they keep their cattle, for more than 100 years.” Lynn knew Krentz for more than 20 years and says he is well aware of what ranchers near the border are up against. “It's just a stampede over there. There are trails that look like a freeway going through there.”

The United States Border Patrol says the issue of protection is more complicated than it seems. One spokesperson says, “Boots on the ground, agents, officers, law enforcement are absolutely key in any endeavor as it relates to law enforcement are absolutely key, but they are not the only solution.”

Sen. John McCain is hosting a town hall meeting in Sierra Vista on Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and McCain's opponent JD Hayworth will be in Douglas with Border Patrol hosting a meeting for ranchers who say they are afraid for their lives and are looking for help from their government.

The Arizona Cattle Growers' Association is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading up to the arrest of the person responsible for Krentz' death.

The Arizona Cattlemen's Association issued the following statement:

Phoenix, AZ March 30, 2010 – The thoughts and prayers of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association are with the family of Sue and Rob Krentz.  Rob’s tragic death truly leaves a hole in the community and his family.  Everyone in Arizona’s ranching community is saddened to hear of this tragedy. 
Rob Krentz was a caretaker – he cared for his family, he cared for the land and he cared for the animals he and his family raised on the Krentz Ranch.  These traits have been passed down through the Krentz family from one generation to the next.  This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue and their children.  
Rob Krentz and his family have been long time members of the association and have always been willing to help those in need.  The Krentz family has been stewards of the land for over 100 years constantly adapting to the changing environment.  The ranching community will certainly miss cattlemen Rob Krentz.     
Rob and his dog were found shot to death early Sunday morning after he left on his four-wheeler Saturday to check fence on his ranch.  While reports of this tragedy and investigation advance the ACGA is prepared to assist in gathering facts about the incident with the offer of a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in the tragic shooting of Rob Krentz.  
With the help of the McGibbon Family a Robert Krentz Memorial Fund has been established at Wells Fargo.  Anyone that would like to donate to this fund can do so at any Wells Fargo, Account Number 5560960899.   
ACGA has received an overwhelming amount of correspondence expressing condolences and we would like to thank all of those people for their thoughts and prayers.  It is important that we all continue to focus on the Krentz Family in this time of need.