Mormon Family Massacred While Traveling Along The US-Mexico Border

REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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At least nine members of a Mormon family, three women and six children, were killed Monday in a deadly ambush while they were traveling near the southern border.

Three vehicles were traveling between the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora on Monday when cartel members attacked them, according to the attorney general of the State of Chihuahua, CNN reported. Alex LeBaron, a family member of the victims, said the attack took the lives of two infants, four children, and three women.

All of those killed held dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship, he said.

“Women and children (between 14 years old and 10 months) were massacred, burnt alive. Mothers were screaming for the fire to stop,” LeBaron said. “We are a very tight knit community, we share everything that’s happening. We’ve been dealing with this tragedy since early yesterday. We share all information within our family groups.”

Cartel gunmen are seen outside during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman, son of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, in Culiacan

Cartel gunmen are seen outside during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman, son of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jesus Bustamante

Seven children who were injured were flown from Mexico to Douglas, Arizona, and then transported to hospitals in Tucson.

The victims were members of the LeBaron family, a fundamentalist Mormon community that has lived in the border region for years. Surviving family members spoke of a horrific scene. One child was gunned down while trying to escape, and others were trapped inside a flaming vehicle.

“As a mother I feel angry, scorn and a profound pain for the cowardly events in the mountains between Sonora and Chihuahua,” Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich Arellano tweeted. “I don’t know what type of monsters would dare to hurt women and children. As governor, you have all my collaboration so that this doesn’t remain unpunished and the responsible parties pay.”

Family members of the victims said the massacre went down while they were moving to Janos, Chihuahua, from Bavispe, Sonora. Alex LeBaron said there were two different attacks, and he believes they were carried out by two different groups of the same cartel that mistook the family for rivals.

It is not yet known who carried out the attack, but authorities are investigating the incident. The massacre Monday marked the latest episode of violence in Mexico, a country long ridden with cartel violence. (RELATED: ‘It’s Easily Fixed’: Trump Responds To News Of Smugglers Cutting Through Border Wall)

Mexican troops captured El Chapo’s son in October, but were forced to surrender him almost immediately after they were outnumbered and outmatched by members of the Sinaloa cartel. The siege over the former drug kingpin’s son engulfed the city of Culiacan, and demonstrated the Mexican government’s inability to control organized crime.

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