9 US citizens killed in Mexican drug cartel ambush
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Drug cartel gunmen ambushed three SUVs along a dirt road, slaughtering at least six children and three women — all of them United Stated citizens living in northern Mexico — in a grisly attack that left one vehicle a burned-out, bullet-riddled hulk, authorities said Tuesday.
The dead included 8-month-old twins.
Eight children were found alive after escaping from the vehicles and hiding in the brush, but at least five had bullet wounds or other injuries and were taken to Phoenix for treatment.
The attackers apparently killed one woman, Christina Langford Johnson, after she jumped out of her vehicle and waved her hands to show she wasn’t a threat, according to an account published by family members and corroborated by prosecutors and a relative in a telephone interview.
Around the ambush scene, which stretched for miles, investigators found over 200 shell casings, mostly from assault rifles.
The attack took place Monday in a remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico where the Sinaloa cartel has been engaged in a turf war.
The victims had set out to see relatives in Mexico; one woman was headed to the airport in Phoenix to meet her husband.
Mexican Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said the gunmen may have mistaken the group’s large SUVs for those of rival gangs.
“There’s apparently a war right now,” a relative of the dead who did not want his name used for fear of reprisals said wearily. “It’s been going on for too long.”
While a drug-related violence has been raging for years in Mexico, cartel gunmen have become increasingly unconcerned about killing children as collateral damage.