A Colorado man now living in Texas may have been killed by Mexican pirates who authorities said have tried to lay claim to a popular lake on the Texas border.
Berthoud native Tiffany Hartley said she and her husband, David, were on a sightseeing, personal-watercraft excursion Thursday on the Mexican side of Falcon Reservoir, straddling the border, when pirates in three speedboats began chasing them.
“We saw that they had guns, so we started racing away from them,” Tiffany Hartley, 29, said in a phone interview from her home in McAllen, Texas.
As the couple fled about 2:30 p.m., the pirates opened fire with rifles, seeming to target her husband, she said. A bullet struck him in the back of the head and he splashed into the water.
Hartley described her efforts to rescue her husband, then the agony of having to leave him behind, and finally a harrowing race back to the U.S. side as the pirates trained their guns on her. She doubled back and tried to put her husband back on his craft. But, she said, her husband seemed limp and she saw a gunshot wound on his head.
“I tried pulling him up, but I couldn’t,” Hartley said in a shaky voice.
David Hartley is believed to have died. But when Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez learned of the shooting, there was little that he or other American law enforcement officers could do to investigate or retrieve the body unless it drifted 2 miles over to the U.S. side of the lake. They had to rely on Mexican authorities, who told him they couldn’t respond because they discovered their boat’s motor was missing.