Cartel Shootout in Mexico Leaves 9 Americans Dead

Web Staff
By Web Staff
November 5, 2019World News

A cartel shootout in Mexico left at least nine American citizens dead.

The slain victims were all members of the LeBaron family, American citizens who have lived near the United States-Mexico border for decades.

The victims include three women, four small children and two infants, family member Alex LeBaron said from Mexico. He said all nine were dual U.S.-Mexican citizens.

The victims were “all shot while in vehicles while driving,” LeBaron told CNN. Several children survived the attack.

Investigators believe three vehicles traveling between the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua were ambushed by criminal groups Monday evening, Mexican authorities said.

“Women and children were massacred, burned alive,” LeBaron said. “Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop.”

Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said the attack could have been a case of mistaken identity of “conflicting groups in the area.”

The family was traveling in three separate vehicles on Nov. 4 when they were attacked, family members said. Some were trapped in a burning car while one child was shot dead while trying to flee the scene.

“When you know there are babies tied in a car seat that are burning because of some twisted evil that’s in this world, it’s just hard to cope with that,” Kenny LeBaron, a cousin of the women who were driving the vehicles, told the paper. “They intentionally murdered those people. We don’t know what their motives were.”

Seven other children survived the attack, he said.

Lafe Langford Jr., a relative of some of the victims, posted a video showing a burned-out, bullet-ridden car.

The burnt wreckage of a vehicle
The burnt wreckage of a vehicle transporting a family living near the border with the United States, after the family was caught in a crossfire between unknown gunmen from rival cartels, in Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico, on Nov. 4, 2019. (Kenny Miller/Courtesy of Alex LeBaron via AP)

He said that the mothers and “many of their precious innocent children have been slaughtered and gone to their rest.”

One of the older boys who was with the group managed to escape with six of his siblings and run home “after leaving his wounded, bleeding, and bullet-ridden brothers and sisters hiding behind trees from the ongoing shootout between the cartels,” Langford wrote in a Facebook post late Monday.

The victims were mothers Maria Rhonita Miller, 43-year-old Dawna Ray Langford, and 31-year-old Christina Marie Langford and some of their children: four of Miller’s children, two of Langford’s children, an 11-year-old and a 3-year-old, Lafe Langford Jr. told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Mexican authorities confirmed earlier Tuesday that at least three women and six children were killed by cartel gunmen.

Some other children escaped with their lives and were rushed to Phoenix, Arizona, for treatment, but one child is still missing.

Trump makes his way to board Air Force One
President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Nov. 4, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump reacted to the slaying, saying that the United States is ready to help Mexico clean out cartels that are the principal cause of violence in the country.

“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing,” Trump said in a statement on Nov. 5, a day after the attack in Sonora.

“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

In another tweet, Trump said: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said around the same time that he would speak with Trump about possibly cooperating on security issues in the country.

Christopher Landau, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, traveled to Sonora for work meetings on Monday. He said in a statement he was following the incident as it developed.

“The security of our co-nationals is our great priority,” he said.

Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, the Governor of Sonora, issued a statement saying: “As a mother, I feel courage, repudiation and deep pain for what cowards did in the mountains between Sonora and Chihuahua. I don’t know what kind of monsters dare to hurt women and children. As Governor, I will do everything to make sure this does not go unpunished and those responsible pay.”

Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber and The CNN Wire contributed to this article.

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